COLUMBIA — Summerfest is headed back to Ninth Street, but the controversy is far from resolved.
The Columbia City Council requested a report on street closings at its July 18 meeting in the wake of a petition filed by some downtown businesses to limit closing off Ninth Street for Summerfest.
The council is scheduled Monday evening to review recommended changes to the ordinance on street closings and a proposition to wait to take action on those changes for 60 days.
The delay is being proposed by the Downtown Community Improvement District to gather more input from the business community.
"The city manager's office is looking for larger, more comprehensive changes," said improvement district Director Carrie Gartner.
Many communities that the report looked at had street closing applications around eight or nine pages long that addressed a breadth of issues related to the request. In contrast, the Columbia street closing request is a single page long.
"A more comprehensive policy will make it easier for the organizers (of events) to understand what is expected of them," Gartner said.
Richard King, owner of Mojo's and The Blue Note, moved Summerfest in protest to Forrest Rose Park for one concert after Red and Moe Pizzeria owner Tom Rippeto was granted a street closing concurrent with a Summerfest closing. At that point, the petition from downtown business owners had already been filed with the council.
Now King has decided to move Summerfest back to Ninth Street for shows on Aug. 14 and Sept. 24. But King said he would prefer to see the council ratify the proposed amendments to the street closing ordinance.
"I'm happy with the changes that are currently added," King said.
He has also requested a street closing for a 9th Street Summerfest show Sept. 30 featuring pop singer and guitarist Colbie Caillat.
In order to apply for a street closing, organizers have to collect signatures from all affected business owners or managers on the street. Rippeto declined to sign the application for the Sept. 30 street closing, but King still thinks it will be approved.
"I don't foresee it being a problem," he said, "but you never know."
Rippeto said he would be happy with a 60-day tabling of the proposed ordinance, so the council can gather more input from the business community.
"This year there will be about 10 closings on Ninth Street," he said. "That's too many for one area — too big of an impact on businesses."
His proposal is to limit street closings to three per area per year.
"I'm looking for a balance," he said.
On Monday, the council will also have public hearings concerning:
- Fixing the 2011 city property tax at $0.41 per $100 of taxable property.
- Adopting the city's 2012 fiscal year budget.
- Adopting a 2012 budget for the Special Business District.
The council will also look at the following resolutions:
- Adopting a Rates, Charges and Lease Policy and Fee Schedule for the Columbia Regional Airport.
Authorizing an operations agreement with Thumper Productions, LLC for the 2011 Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival.