An ordinance that would require property owners who host large gatherings to file traffic- and parking-management plans with the city of Bexley may go into effect next spring, rather than in January, to allow more time for public awareness, city officials say.

City Council is considering Ordinance 27-18, which, if approved, will require property owners who host large gatherings to do the following:

* File a traffic-management plan addressing traffic control and signage that will direct motorists.

* File a parking-management plan addressing how much parking is available and how many vehicles are anticipated at the event.

* The number of police officers needed to assist with traffic management and public safety.

At their Dec. 4 meeting, council members approved several amendments to the ordinance.

Councilwoman Monique Lampke, chairwoman of council's safety and health committee, said she drafted the amendments after introducing the ordinance Oct. 9 to take into account other council members' input and research on similar ordinances in other municipalities.

The amendments Lampke introduced include reducing the number of attendees required for a traffic control permit from 750 to 500 people. Another amendment allows educational institutions that host multiple large gatherings throughout the year to file a single master traffic- and parking-management plan with the city each year.

"After speaking with our mayor and our chief (of police), we thought that having a master plan for those institutions would be most expeditious," Lampke said.

Councilman Richard Sharp suggested an additional amendment to delay the effective date of the legislation to April 1, rather than the standard 30 days after council approves an ordinance. Sharp said the delay would allow for a public-awareness period, such as a public forum hosted by the city for organizations that are likely to be most affected.

Sharp said he suggested the waiting period "so that people have time to develop a plan to decide what they're going to do."

Other amendments that council approved include allowing applicants to apply for a traffic-control permit 15 days before an event, rather than 30 days. Another amendment is a tiered-fee system of $50 for nonprofit organizations, $75 for residential events and $100 for commercial events.

Lampke said she also added language at the suggestion of Bexley City Attorney Marc Fishel stating the city, when issuing traffic-control permits, cannot discriminate on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, familial status or military status.

Fishel said he suggested the nondiscrimination language to lessen the city's liability in the event that an applicant whose traffic-control permit request is denied sues the city.

"In my opinion, we'll be on stronger footing defending that decision if it's in that ordinance," Fishel said.

At the Dec. 4 meeting, council approved Lampke's motion to table the ordinance. Lampke said she plans to gather information about how many organizations will be affected before council takes a final vote.

For more information about the legislation, visit www.bexley.org.

editorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews