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Large event planning requires application submission process

Events like West Fest, Streets Alive, Cruising Sheyenne and most recently the Fargo Half Marathon all have an impact on our community. Each event has a social value and is intended to provide a positive image of what West Fargo has to offer. There are however some unpopular consequences to holding such large events.

To mitigate the negative impact an event may create, the City has established a permitting process. The event organizers are required to complete an application and questionnaire. The applicant is asked to provide general information such as date and time the event is to occur. The nature of the event and proposed location are also required. More detailed questions are directed to how the organization will handle security and medical needs of those in attendance as well as providing bathroom facilities and clean-up. The application and questionnaire are meant to identify any potential issue that may arise.

The completed application and questionnaire will be reviewed by City staff to ensure the event conforms to West Fargo City ordinance and state law. City Hall evaluates whether special permits will be required to hold the event and establishes the requirements for public notification. The Health Department looks to ensure health codes are followed relating to food service and adequate toilets and hand wash stations are provided. Public Works reviews potential impacts to vehicle traffic, determines detour routes and formulates a signage plan. The Sanitation Department assists with trash receptacles and trash collection. The Police Department assesses the need for security at the event and works with Public Works on traffic control. The Fire Department and local emergency medical services review the application to ensure fire code and life safety issues are addressed. A request may be approved, additional information may be requested before approval is granted or the permit may be denied. Upon application approval the requesting organization will use directed mailings and public notifications to announce upcoming events.

For most large events, members of the organizing group and City staff will meet prior to the event to ensure a clear understanding of expectations and responsibilities has been established. Several meetings may occur over several months depending on the complexity of the event. Once a permit has been approved any failure to comply with the requirements or a violation of West Fargo City ordinance or state law may cause the event to be halted. Additional meetings may be held following the event to capture feedback from the organizer and City staff on what went right and what went wrong for the purpose of improving upon the planning process.

Large events in our community will undoubtedly cause someone an inconvenience. Through proper planning and oversight City staff hopes to lessen the impact felt by the public and to provide a safe and enjoyable environment. By being aware of what is happening in your community, you can keep from being caught unprepared.