STONE HARBOR - Stone Harbor Mayor Judith Davies-Dunhour used the Oct. 5 Borough Council work session to push for the creation of an ordinance banning private events on public property.
Davies-Dunhour seemed determined to head off what she fears will be a growing number of requests for weddings and other large gatherings that involve large tents over public rights of way, street closures, and potential increased liability for the borough.
“Once we open the door to these types of events,” Davies-Dunhour said, “we must realize we cannot pick and choose who we permit to have them.”
She was reacting to those who argued that events at the dead-end bayfront or oceanfront streets presented fewer problems for the temporary closure of streets.
Council member Charles Krafczek supported the mayor’s position, asking how the borough could say yes to those who can afford a bayfront home and no to those a block or more away.
Davies-Dunhour said she was concerned about legal liability, especially since the gatherings almost all involve alcohol. She also argued that disruption to parking and through streets compounded problems caused by growing summer crowds.
“We are already tipping over in capacity,” she added.
Councilwoman Jennifer Gensemer countered the mayor, calling block parties part of Americana. She urged the council to find ways to allow such activities, while controlling for potential problems. Gensemer also pointed to such events happening now without the official sanction from the borough, a point disputed by Davies-Dunhour.
The discussion ended with instructions to the borough administrator to incorporate language for banning such events in a draft ordinance that the council can debate, and which can be open to public comment.