Lavallette officials have been vocal in their efforts to prevent the borough’s beachfront from becoming “over-commercialized,” however many programs, such as morning yoga classes and athletic events, have been welcomed in town. Owners of these businesses apply for special event permits, and normally pay either a fee or a commission on their revenue.
But the times and dates of special events have begun to conflict as more and more individuals and businesses apply for special event permits. Borough officials have long been looking into whether the special even system should be reformed, but said they do not plan on acting before the upcoming summer season, as permits have already been issued and more applications are pending.
Dozens of facilities and event applications are filed each year in Lavallette, including a range of yoga classes on the beach in the morning, surfing lessons, a science camp for children and numerous athletic events such as a triathlon. In some cases, the athletic events which require the use of the borough’s baseball fields or basketball courts, are run by for-profit companies. Others are aimed at raising money for a nonprofit organization.
“Believe it or not, there are only about 15 activities listed where they pay us money,” said Councilwoman Joanne Filippone, who leads the borough’s ordinance committee.
The committee, she said, is still debating the best way to improve the permit system to allow as many events as possible while ensuring the borough is properly protected from liability as well as any costs incurred by the use of facilities. Nonprofits will still be able to host events without fees being imposed, and activities such as the annual science camp, surf and yoga lessons will be able to continue, however the borough will develop a better way of enforcing the permit ordinance. Occasionally, in the past, businesses have “sprung up” during the season without permits, while others have seemingly fizzled without notice.
Filippone said the committee is now looking at raising the revenue commission to 15 percent with a minimum of $200 for a single-day event. An event or activity that is held three or four times per week might carry a $300 minimum while everyday usage of facilities would include the 15 percent commission or $750, whichever is higher.
“The intent, I thought is that we want to have some control over the total numbers,” said Filippone. “This is all flexible – I don’t think it’s fair to charge the less lucrative businesses 15 percent and the more lucrative businesses only 10 percent.”
Filippone also said the borough will consider mating the special events permit ordinance with a film permit provision that would require permission before recording movies or television shows within the borough’s borders. Borough Attorney Phillip George said he would review film permit ordinance from other communities, as well as statues and case law. Film for the purposes of newsgathering, for example, would not trigger the ordinance.
“There is always an exception for a news story – obviously a lot of reporters come here to cover storms and such,” George said.