Friday, we told you about the City of Roberta cancelling an event because it was not sanctioned by a city ordinance. Police Chief Ty Mathews said the group that planned the "Camp Meeting" event didn't file a permit or post a $1 million bond to the city. We received several phone calls and emails about that ordinance, including one from J. Hump, who asked if the bond was legitimate. Yvonne Thomas went to the Crawford County Planning and Zoning Office to find out.
Roberta Mayor Becky Smith signed off on this ordinance on September 13, 2016. It's a nine-page ordinance filed under Chapter 25 called Control of Mass Gatherings. The city defines a mass gathering as any event likely to attract 1,000 or more people and lasts 6 hours or more.
Section A states that a person holding a mass gathering is required to post a bond of $1 million for the "benefit of any person who is damaged as a result of the activity of the mass gathering." So we verified, an event like a camp meeting would require the organizers to post a $1 million bond to the city of Roberta.
Another fact, you have to apply for a permit in advance. The ordinance states that you must apply for a permit at least 15 days before the first day of advertising... and at least 45 days before the event.
The Camp meeting organizers did not file a permit within that time frame, according to Chief Ty Mathews.
Planning and Zoning Director Frank Miller says the Roberta city ordinance is similar to the Crawford County ordinance. Both require organizers to post a million dollar bond prior to the event for insurance purposes.
We spoke to the Bibb County Sheriff's Office and the Parks and Beautification office about their special event ordinance. Their liability insurance is $1 million as well.
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