Monday, June 27, 2016

Additional Thoughts on The Woodlands Township Special Events Policy

So we learn in the Meeting Recap posted by The Woodlands Township on Thursday evening through their Facebook page the following:

The Board accepted a motion to approve the Special Event Analysis and Operational Plan with the stipulation that existing major race events would be grandfathered in and the new guidelines would apply only to new events. The motion also amended the proposed scheduling buffer for events requiring road closures so that events that require lane or road closures cannot occur if another event has already been permitted for closing the same lanes/roads four weeks before or four weeks after. All road and lane closures must provide traffic alternate routes of ingress and egress from neighborhoods and the Township must approve the route as part of the permitting process.

But what is the definition of "existing major race events"?

Is it those listed in events presented by Parks and Recreation in the May Board Meeting, such as The Woodlands Marathon, Ironman Texas, Run Thru The Woods and those races produced by The Township.

Or does it include all other events that use the roads and the pathways in The Township?

I specifically never heard the word "major" mentioned.

It was "new events" versus existing ones, as the latter part of the first sentence above indicates.

I have to assume that this was an oversight in the wild discussion that took place in the flurries of motions.

Really disappointing because if it isn't defined, then you can have smaller events - more than likely those that are producing events to raise monies for charities - that are forced to make significant changes (possibly in venue even) because somebody new - without knowing what the other event has done in the past - comes in and wants to put on an event in the same residential area within that eight-week window of time.

It is why some type of weekly-produced Special Events Calendar and Road Closure listing, like that used by the City of Houston, would be good for residents (to know when and where which roads will be closed) and participants (to ensure that events are going through the permitting process timely) alike.

It would seem that existing events, as discussed, would be able to not have their existing date and location for the next year impinged upon and then once their event is complete, they would have 30 days to set a date and a location for the following year or potentially lose that date - and the eight-week block that comes with it in that residential area - to another event.

I really hope that we see this cleaned and cleared up by the Parks and Recreation Department - to come back to the Board of Directors - in the Public Hearing for the late July 27, 2016 Meeting.

I know that I actually don't have a voice as I'm not a resident of The Woodlands Township.  However, having formerly written for The Courier and being and having been a strong advocate for professionalism in event production, promotions, coverage and operations of our sport(s), I just don't want to see an understandable goal - keeping residents from feeling overwhelmed by the number of events - turn into something unworkable for those events that are predominantly attended by residents of The Woodlands Township, promote health and wellness and typically raise money for local charities.

And I'm in a difficult spot, so to speak, in that I announce two races for The Woodlands Township - Muddy Trails Bash and CB&I - and they're ones that I really enjoy being a part of.

They allow me to stay connected to our local athletic communities and why I'm so eager to do them.

Parks and Recreation leadership approves of my approach in announcing, their team is very well organized and I enjoy working with them.

If speaking my mind keeps me from being able to do so in the future, I can sleep at night knowing that I didn't compromise what I believe in and am passionate about.

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