by Jan Horton on November 21, 2010

At the November 11, 2010 Council meeting, I proposed the following amendment to the policy guiding the use of the Yorba Linda Community Center lawn area. This was in response to a problem I became aware of after the last North Orange County Conservative Coalition event held there in support of Council candidates John Anderson and Tom Lindsey.

The issues:

  • Only a noise permit was required to hold this large-scale event on the Community Center lawn. This event was advertised for weeks prior to the gathering and does not meet the test of spontaneous political gatherings protected by freedom of speech.
  • Instructors cancelled classes community members paid to attend because of anticipated parking problems posed by two previous gatherings.
  • No insurance was required to indemnify the City. All other groups using the community center or parks have to show proof of insurance.
  • No “hold harmless” agreement was signed.
  • During the event, two uniformed Police officers, assigned to Yorba Linda,  were in attendance instead of patrolling our community. This was at the City of Yorba Linda’s expense.
  • At this time, anyone can use the lawn for small or large group events by obtaining only a noise permit if you plan on having amplified music or speeches. There is no other requirement to have parties, weddings, etc…

My suggestions:

  • All large groups intending to use the Yorba Linda Community Center lawn, or any park area, need to apply for a use permit.
  • Scheduling of these areas should be coordinated with existing classes and/or events to avoid residents missing classes/ or normally scheduled events.
  • Private groups are to supply proof of insurance.
  • Private groups are to sign a hold harmless agreement to indemnify the City.
  • Security should be paid for by the group hosting the event.
  • There should be a charge for use of the Community Center lawn, commensurate with charges used for the rental of rooms, to cover the increase foot traffic load on the lawn, building amenities, and staff.

My intention is not to limit freedom of speech, but to make sure the City is protected from lawsuits due to possible injury and the cost of the event lies with the hosting group.

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