Changes recommended on fees for special events

The county Planning Commission unanimously voted to recommend the county’s zoning ordinance be amended to exempt churches and schools from paying fees for special events and signs.

At a public hearing last month on the proposed change, Lindbergh Schools parents and administrators spoke against the county’s current enforcement of the ordinance, which has been on the books since the 1960s but only began to be enforced this year by county zoning officers.

As proposed, schools and churches would be exempt from most of the requirements under the ordinance, with the exception of events that include food or carnivals, which the county will still inspect. Events held outdoors at churches or schools may still have to obtain a permit if they are held by groups that are not church- or school-related, a measure taken after some churches falling on hard times have held commercial flea markets on weekends in residential neighborhoods.

“That’s when we said we’re sympathetic to your plight — but what you’ve got going on here is a commercial business in a residential area,” Department of Planning Director Glenn Powers said at the panel’s Nov. 4 meeting.