City of Buffalo, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Buffalo 2-20-1996, effective 3-1-1996. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alcoholic beverages — See Ch. 69.
City property — See Ch. 133.
Gambling — See Ch. 209.
Games of chance — See Ch. 213.
Parks and other open spaces — See Ch. 309.
The Mayor and the Common Council of the City finds that streets and other public places in the City are from time to time temporarily closed and used as sites for ethnic festivals, art shows, neighborhood celebrations and other public events which are privately sponsored but open to the public. Events of this kind serve to improve the quality of life of the residents of the City and often result in large numbers of people congregating within the confines of the temporarily closed streets or public places, and the resulting crowd conditions create concerns for police and fire access and control and other concerns relating to the health, safety and welfare of the public and of persons and property in the closed area. It is therefore essential that a policy be established for governing these events which shall facilitate control over them by the sponsor and by City officials from departments involved with the event to safeguard persons and property.
The following words, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings herein stated, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
ADMISSION FEE
The charge to spectators to witness and persons to participate in the special event.
CITY EVENT
An event sponsored by the City as recognized by the Special Events Advisory Committee.
LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE
Any combination of spectators or participants expected, or later found, to equal or exceed 3,000.
PUBLIC PROPERTY
Property which is owned, operated, maintained, and/or controlled by the City which is not rental in nature. Examples of public property include, but are not limited to, parking lots, plazas, streets, sidewalks and parks.
SPECIAL EVENT
A preplanned single event or series of events that, because of its nature, interest, location, promotion or any combination of similar influences, is expected, or later found, to draw a large number of people, sponsored by an individual or entity other than the City, proposed to be held on public property or on private property but affecting public property or requiring City support services, for the purpose(s) of entertainment, celebration, amusement, cultural recognition, arts and crafts displays and/or sales, amateur sports demonstration or competition, block parties or similar activities generically considered recreational in nature. Examples include, but are not limited to, ethnic festivals, street fairs, street art shows, public celebrations, outdoor concerts, parades, road races.
SPONSOR
The individual, group of individuals, corporation or other entity responsible for organizing the event.
SUPPORT SERVICES
Those which can or must be provided by the City to ensure that a special event is conducted in such a manner as to protect the safety, health, property and general welfare of its citizens. Examples include fire protection, crowd management and control and traffic management and control.
A. 
Purpose and need.
(1) 
The purpose of the Special Events Advisory Committee (SEAC) is to provide a mechanism which will allow the City to plan for and coordinate special events; which will allow for the establishment of terms and conditions under which the event may be conducted; and will allow a sponsor to plan and manage a special event within the context of the established terms and conditions.
(2) 
The need for such a mechanism has been demonstrated over a period of years, wherein City departments and sponsors alike have been uncertain of their responsibilities. There is need for the City to be able to project and coordinate personnel and financial resources and the public spaces under its control. There is need for the City to be reimbursed for all or part of the services provided when it is deemed appropriate and/or possible. There is need for sponsors to receive a timely and understandable response to their requests or proposals and to have a clear understanding of their obligations.
(3) 
There is an overriding need to ensure that the mechanism will allow for, and in fact encourage, the reasonable proliferation of the activities and events which contribute to the economic viability of the City and the quality of life of its citizens.
(4) 
These needs can best be met by a thorough evaluation of each special event proposal on an individual basis by a committee designed to recognize these interests.
B. 
Composition of the SEAC. The SEAC shall be comprised of the following officials or their designated representatives:
[Amended 10-16-2001, effective 10-26-2001]
(1) 
The Special Events Coordinator, serving as Chair of the Committee.
(2) 
The Executive Director of the Office of Strategic Planning.
(3) 
The Commissioner of Police.
(4) 
The Commissioner of Public Works, Parks and Streets.
(5) 
The Deputy Commissioner of Streets.
(6) 
The Commissioner of Fire.
(7) 
The Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services.
(8) 
The Deputy Commissioner for Parks and Recreation.
(9) 
The Director of Budget and Management.
(10) 
The Director of Parking Enforcement.
(11) 
The Director of Recreation.
(12) 
The Corporation Counsel.
(13) 
The designee of the President of the Common Council.
[Amended 5-27-2014]
C. 
Special Events Coordinator.
(1) 
Position and appointment. The Special Events Coordinator appointed by the Mayor shall act as the coordinator for the SEAC. The Special Events Coordinator shall be designated by the Mayor.
[Amended 4-4-2006, effective 4-18-2006]
(2) 
Duties. Coordination responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
(a) 
Distributing special event applications, policies and procedures, evaluation forms and related information to sponsors and City departments.
(b) 
Receiving and compiling completed applications from sponsors.
(c) 
Distributing completed applications and costing forms to City support departments.
(d) 
Receiving applications and cost forms from City departments.
(e) 
Convening and chairing the SEAC meetings.
(f) 
Notifying event sponsors of the approval/disapproval of the request and of conditions of approval, if any.
(g) 
Preparing and updating an annual special events calendar.
(h) 
Distributing the annual special events calendar to affected City departments.
(3) 
Vacancy. In the event of the temporary absence, vacation or disability of the Special Events Coordinator, the Mayor shall appoint an interim Special Events Coordinator until the absence, vacation or disability ceases.
D. 
Responsibilities of the SEAC. The SEAC is charged with the responsibility of reviewing, evaluating, approving or disapproving all special event applications as well as identifying City-sponsored special events. The decision-making process may include, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) 
Application of the general policy, criteria and evaluation factors which are a part of these policies and procedures.
(2) 
Consideration of the City's ability to provide support in terms of personnel resources.
(3) 
Consideration of the City's ability to support the event financially.
(4) 
Consideration of the sponsor's ability to provide financial assistance.
E. 
Authority of the SEAC. The SEAC may:
(1) 
Approve or disapprove of an application as submitted. If the SEAC disapproves, the SEAC must state, in writing, the reason(s) for the, disapproval.
(2) 
Establish the terms and conditions for the special event. Terms and conditions may include, but are not limited to, areas such as location, timing, scope and/or financial arrangements.
(3) 
Negotiate with a sponsor for the purpose of establishing terms and conditions, including but not limited to those identified in § 414-10D, and state in writing the final terms and conditions the City will agree to.
F. 
Meetings and timing of meetings. Meetings shall be convened by the Special Events Coordinator periodically for informational purposes and/or for the purposes of evaluating and approving applications.
G. 
Voting.
(1) 
Five members of the SEAC shall constitute a quorum.
(2) 
Decisions shall be made by majority vote of those members present.
The City is responsible for determining whether to issue permits and licenses for special events and establishing guidelines for the safe and proper conduct of such special events. To fulfill these responsibilities the City must determine if a special event should be conducted and the terms and conditions under which an approved event may be conducted.
[Amended 10-16-2001, effective 10-26-2001]
It is the sponsor's responsibility to make application to conduct a special event as provided in this article and to furnish any additional information that may be requested. The sponsor is responsible for notifying and, where necessary or appropriate, consulting with property owners and occupants in and adjoining the proposed special event up to 1/4 mile from the perimeter of the special event area. It is the sponsor's responsibility to abide by all of the terms and conditions established as part of the approval process. It shall be the sponsor's responsibility to provide for the protection of the safety, health, property, and general welfare of those attending and participating in the special event.
[Amended 10-16-2001, effective 10-26-2001]
A. 
Application. The sponsor must submit an application to the SEAC at least 90 days prior to the event. The application must include a proposed budget and a previous year's budget if such event took place in the previous year. The SEAC may meet with the sponsor and review the obligations of various City departments and the sponsor. The sponsor shall submit information regarding its notice to and consultation with the neighboring property owners or occupants within 1/4 mile from the perimeter of the special event. The sponsor must supplement the application as new information is learned or obtained, including the addition of sponsors. The SEAC shall render its decision on a completed application within 21 days of receipt of a completed application. All permit applications and applicable fees must be submitted 30 days prior to the start of the event, including those related to fireworks, concession stands and amusement rides. Application forms are to be obtained from and returned to the Mayor's office in City Hall. Exceptions may be made for justifiable reasons upon petition to the Special Events Coordinator. The Special Events Coordinator may waive compliance with the time limits stated in this provision upon good cause shown.
B. 
City costing process. The completed form will be distributed to the appropriate City departments and agencies who will estimate the additional costs that would be incurred as a result of the event. This information may be used in establishing terms and conditions under which an event may be conducted when the use of police or other City personnel is appropriate, possible, and not in conflict with any other administrative policies and procedures and/or labor agreements.
A. 
Review, general. The SEAC will review, approve or disapprove each proposed special event on its own merits. In reviewing a proposed special event, the SEAC will also review, evaluate and determine the costs of City support services required for the special event that will be charged to all sponsors unless the SEAC waives all or any portion of these costs if such a waiver is in the best interest of the City. The SEAC will consider various criteria and factors, including but not limited to:
(1) 
Is the proposed event considered desirable for the City?
(2) 
Does the City have the ability to provide the required support services regardless of who bears the cost?
(3) 
Does the proposed special event conflict with any other proposed special event or activity?
B. 
Decision. The SEAC may either approve a proposed event as submitted, make unilateral modifications or make modifications in cooperation with the sponsor. In deciding on approving or disapproving a proposed special event, the SEAC will set forth any terms and conditions applicable to an approved event. The SEAC shall render any decision to waive costs or fees provided herein in writing with reasons for its decision to waive.
C. 
Appeals. An applicant for a special event may appeal the decision of the SEAC and the decisions of the Special Events Coordinator regarding petitions under § 414-6A to the Finance Committee of the Common Council, which may recommend to the Common Council that it overturn the decision of the SEAC after a hearing.
The sponsor will be notified of the approval or disapproval of the proposed event and will be advised of any terms and conditions applicable to an approved event by return of one copy of the SEAC Approval form within 21 days of receipt of the completed application.
A. 
Permits and licenses. Approval to conduct a special event by this process does not relieve the sponsor or any participant, including but not limited to foodstands, vendors, peddlers or exhibitors, from the responsibility of applying for any other permits or licenses or meeting any other requirements which may be applicable.
(1) 
Fireworks. All permit, licensing and safety requirements established by the Department of Neighborhoods, Housing and Inspections and the Department of Fire shall be observed. The discharge of personal fireworks is not allowed.
(2) 
Parades and street closings. Sponsors must apply for any and all necessary permits to have a parade or to temporarily close a street.
B. 
Insurance. All events must obtain a liability insurance policy in the amount of $1,000,000 with the City named as an additional insured, or a larger amount in the discretion of the City. This insurance shall satisfy all insurance requirements for the City for holding the special event. Additional insurance requirements of City departments shall be considered by the SEAC in formulating the amount of coverage required. The insurance policy shall be subject to the review and approval of the Corporation Counsel of the City.
C. 
Due date. All required permits, licenses, security deposits and insurance policies must be obtained no later than 10 days prior to the date of the event, with a copy of each forwarded to Room 201 City Hall.
A. 
Daily time restriction. The hours of operation for any special event taking place within a park shall be between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays and between 1:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Sundays. The hours of operation for any special event taking place on the streets of the City shall be between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on any day of the week.
B. 
Inspections. Pre-event and post-event inspections will be performed by representatives of the sponsor and the SEAC.
C. 
Site maintenance. All areas used must be left in a clean condition. The Department of Street Sanitation or the Department of Human Services, Parks and Recreation will provide trash cans and dumpsters for the event. The number required will be determined by review of each event by the SEAC. The sponsor must provide plastic bags for trash cans. The Department of Street Sanitation may provide additional sanitation services, subject to conditions set by the Commissioner of Street Sanitation before or after events. The sponsor must secure right-of-way access for all services provided by the City.
(1) 
Cleanup time. Cleanup must be completed by 12:00 noon on the day following the event. Events which utilize amusement rides are allowed until 4:00 p.m. on the day following the event.
D. 
Services available from the City. The City will provide certain equipment and materials to facilitate comfort and control over the event, subject to availability and the City's prior need for such equipment and materials. Exceptions for these services may be made for justifiable reasons upon petition to the SEAC.
[Amended 6-25-2002, effective 7-8-2002]
(1) 
Temporary parking signs. All temporary paper signs for restricting parking must be posted 24 hours in advance and maintained by the sponsor. Requests for the necessary materials should be directed to the Division of Parking Enforcement. Any usage of temporary signs without the authorization of the Division of Parking Enforcement will be neither recognized nor enforced. The sponsor must purchase parking control signs or other parking restriction devices (such as parking meter bags) from the Division of Parking Enforcement, paying in advance for the number of signs or other devices ordered. Upon the event's completion, all paper signs must be taken down by the sponsor.
(2) 
Barricades. All barricades should be requested from the Department of Public Works. When the equipment is provided, the sponsor must sign for the barricades. The sponsor shall also be responsible for picking up, setting up, breaking down and delivering the equipment both to and from the Department of Public Works storage site. The cost of replacing lost or damaged barricades lies with the sponsor.
(3) 
Snowfencing. If necessary, all snowfencing should be requested from the Division of Parks. The sponsor shall be responsible for setting up and breaking down the equipment. The Division of Parks will deliver and pick up the equipment. A security deposit paid to the City may be required in the form of a check payable to "The City of Buffalo - Special Events" in an amount determined by the Division of Parks. A copy of the receipt and check must be mailed to the Mayor's office, Room 201, City Hall. The cost of replacing lost or damaged snowfencing lies with the sponsor.
(4) 
Bandshell rental. A rental fee per day as provided in Chapter 175, Fees, shall be charged for the use of the bandshell. A rental fee paid to the City in the form of a check payable to "The City of Buffalo - Special Events." The check shall be delivered to the Division of Parks. A copy of the receipt and check must be mailed to the Mayor's office, Room 201, City Hall. The Department of Human Services, Parks and Recreation will set up, maintain and take down the bandshell. The sponsor must provide security.
(5) 
Fees. The sponsor may be charged the costs for the City to furnish certain services to the event, including printing, overtime and other labor costs associated with the event, as provided in Chapter 175, Fees. The sponsor would pay this fee, as well as other costs not finally determined prior to the SEAC's authorization for the special event, within 10 days after the conclusion of the event.
E. 
Additional services. The sponsor may be responsible for providing some additional services during the event, including but not limited to the following:
(1) 
Security. The amount and type of security necessary will be determined by the SEAC, upon review of the event application and the Department of Police's recommendation. Private security must be obtained pursuant to the recommendations of the SEAC.
(2) 
Emergency medical services. The sponsor must provide a designated emergency medical service area or areas as needed. The sponsor shall meet all guidelines imposed by the New York State Department of Health. If an event expects an estimated crowd of 5,000 people or more, the sponsor must submit proof of contracted medical services to the SEAC before the issuance of any City permit or license. The Department of Fire will not station personnel on the event site for the purpose of providing first aid.
(3) 
Utilities. The sponsor is responsible for payment for any utility use, with payment made directly to the affected department or utility provider. Where available, meters will be checked before and after the event by a City representative and the sponsor. The affected department shall send a copy of the bill or invoice rendered to the sponsor to the SEAC as that bill or invoice is rendered.
(4) 
Restroom facilities. The SEAC will determine reasonable guidelines for portable bathrooms. Financial responsibility for obtaining facilities rests with the sponsor. The sponsor must provide supervision for any park rest room open after 4:00 p.m.
F. 
Banners and signage. Any banner to be hung over the streets of the City in relation to a special event must obtain the approval of the SEAC and the Department of Public Works before it can be erected. All signage placed for the event should follow any and all requirements for signs allowable under applicable law. The sponsor shall be responsible for erecting and dismantling any signage or banners it is permitted to hang.
G. 
Other restrictions. The following are prohibited within the confines of any special event:
(1) 
Overnight camping in City parks, except for authorized uses related to the nature of the event with the permission of the Commissioner of Human Service, Parks and Recreation.
(2) 
Unlicensed gambling or illegal games of chance.
(3) 
Littering and the use of glass containers.
(4) 
Open fires that are not under the guidelines established by the Fire Prevention Bureau.
H. 
Tents and temporary structures. When the sponsor indicates that the special event may use tents or any other kind of temporary structure in City parks or open spaces and, in determining whether to approve the event and establishing its conditions, the SEAC will set forth reasonable conditions for the erection, maintenance and dismantling of the tent or other temporary structure for the purpose of protecting the health, welfare and safety of the public and persons and property in the area of the special event, including the duration of the erection and maintenance of the tent or temporary structure. The sponsor is responsible for obtaining necessary permits from the Bureau of Fire Prevention and other relevant agencies or departments and meeting any other applicable requirements. If the sponsor is permitted to erect a tent or other temporary structure, the sponsor is responsible for erecting the tent or other temporary structure and maintaining that tent or temporary structure. The sponsor is responsible for dismantling the tent or other temporary structure upon the conclusion of the event, when the necessity for the tent or other temporary structure ceases or upon order of the City.
[Added 4-1-1997, effective 4-11-1997]
I. 
Parades, motorcades and road races. Sponsors requesting to conduct a parade, motorcade or road race must apply to the Police Department Traffic Bureau for traffic coordination or escort services. Escort services will be provided based on the availability of police officers on that particular day and the perceived needs of the parade, motorcade or road race. Fees for such services may be charged as outlined in Chapter 175, Fees.
[Added 4-1-1997, effective 4-11-1997]
A. 
Internal evaluations. Departments that participated in an approved special event shall submit to the Special Events Coordinator internal evaluation forms within seven days after the conclusion of the event. Departments shall submit amendments to their evaluations as the departments receive additional facts.
B. 
Sponsor post-event accounting. Sponsors shall submit to the SEAC an accounting of expenses, revenues and use of funds. Sponsors shall submit such an accounting to the SEAC within 30 days of the conclusion of the special event. Failure to submit' such an accounting, or failure to use funds raised at the special event as represented to the SEAC or the City, may be a factor in evaluating whether to grant to that sponsor authorization to hold special events in the future.
A. 
Fine. Special events shall not be held without the authorization of the SEAC nor held in contravention of the terms and conditions set forth by the SEAC (excluding reversions by the Common Council on appeal pursuant to § 414-3E). Violation of this chapter may subject the sponsor to a fine of $500 in addition to any other penalty provided in the ordinances or in any other law on account of commencement of said special events without required permits, licenses or authorization.
B. 
Closing of unauthorized special events. The Commissioner of Police may close any special event conducted without authorization of the SEAC and the sponsors and participants may be subject to arrest.
A. 
City events.
(1) 
Events initiated by and/or sponsored or cosponsored by the City are excluded from the provisions of this policy.
(2) 
Notwithstanding the exclusion of City events, any City event requiring significant support service assistance from any department or agency other than the sponsoring department shall be subject to application and costing procedures. The purpose of this provision is to assist all departments and agencies in overall resource and financial planning and processes.
B. 
Events solely within parks. Events that are held entirely within the jurisdiction of the Division of Parks that involve less than a large number of people or do not require the intervention of any other City department shall be deemed an event sponsored or cosponsored by the City for purposes of this chapter and shall be regulated by the Division of Parks and governed by § 414-13A. Applications for such events shall be collected by the Division of Parks, which shall refer matters outside of this exemption to the SEAC.
Pursuant to Sec. 35 of the Charter, this chapter is effective immediately upon its adoption. The SEAC shall give a waiver of the application deadline of § 414-6A to sponsors of events proposed to begin within 90 days from this effective date.