By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

News: New code restricts carnivals


Ellensburg City Council recently made some changes to the city code, which has made it complicated for a carnival to come into town.

“The new code really restricted it,” Dan Valoff, community development senior planner, said. “We really didn’t want to be so heavy handed when it came to something fun like this.”

The code prior to the changes would not have restricted the areas the carnival could be located. Companies that wanted to host a carnival only would have needed to obtain a business license and a temporary use permit.

Because of the development code update, carnivals can now only be located on public reserve land, and there are now restrictions preventing them on commercial or residential zones.

“We haven’t had anybody wanting to do a carnival or anything like this… going outside of the fairgrounds, so it’s never really been an issue,” Lance Bailey, community development planning supervisor, said.

Butler Amusements wrote a letter to the city council requesting that they change the code so they can hold a carnival on the commercial zone they have a lease for.

“The city representative that we’ve been dealing with have been very cooperative,” Richard Byrum, vice president of Butler Amusements, said.

City council sent that request to the planning department and asked them to consider Butler Amusement’s request and write a recommendation.

Currently, the planning commission is coming up with that recommendation. They will present their information on March 3 during a public hearing.

“We’re trying to change the rules so it’ll work,” Valoff said.

In last week’s Planning Commission meeting, the planning department decided to recommend that the council allow carnivals on all commercial zones as long as the companies go through the process of getting a temporary use permit through community development.

Community Development makes sure there will not be any issues with the fire and police department, and the city will still have some oversight of the events.

City council will have the final say as to whether or not the changes to the code will be made and whether they exclusively follow the planning departments advice, follow only parts or reject it.

If the city council follows the recommendation, the carnival will go through previous protocol, creating an opportunity for other carnivals to follow suit and allowing the potential for future issues.

Bailey said that the public reserve areas, such as the rodeo grounds and the university, are more suited to deal with the impacts that carnivals cause.

“If we don’t approve it, then they don’t really have a location to go,” Bailey said.

If the changes are approved, the carnival would be located on University Way.

“They’re a city that hopefully we’ll get a chance to work with,” said Richard Byrum, VP of Butler Amusements.

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