Residents call for change to special event ordinance in Savannah

Published: May. 10, 2023 at 5:56 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - What’s left behind from a wedding over the weekend in Forsyth Park is causing some who live nearby to call for a change in Savannah’s special event ordinance.

“I don’t remember any kind of an event this large, or a set up this long,” said Nancy Maia, the president of the Victorian Neighborhood Association.

Parts of the east lawn near the Bandshell are discolored after city records show two large tents were placed here for the event.

Permit holders were able to set up in the space for 15 days from April 26th until Wednesday, May 10th.

Now, Victorian Neighborhood Association president Nancy Maia says the city rules should change after several residents raised concerns about the event’s long set up time and the impacts to Forsyth Park.

“There’s the 10 set up days which create traffic problems, parking problems, but then there are also the three or four days afterwards that create other issues. This was a very private event that kind of usurps the needs, or the availability, for those of who live here but also people who come and visit.”

Maia says the City responded quickly to resident’s concerns and committed to changing the ordinance for set up and take down to a maximum of three days.

We reached out to the city who told us there currently isn’t a limit to how long a special event permit can be given for and that they’re constantly reviewing ordinances to better reflect changes in the community.

An invoice we obtained from the city shows the permit holders paid $750 a day to use the space with the total costing more than $12,000.

“I think it’s just opened the eyes of a lot of us to the need to really reevaluate where the ordinances and protect our environment and the resources we have for things that we may not have anticipated.”

As for the discolored grass, the city doesn’t know how much it’ll cost for repairs.

Maia says the city told her that the event planners will be responsible for covering that cost but hasn’t gotten word on how long repairs will take.