The Town of Orange has historically recognized the field surrounding High Plains Community Center ("HPCC") as an area generally available for public use by residents and by local private groups for a variety of events, including but not limited to concerts, displays, craft fairs, picnics, parades, patriotic events, meetings and the like. In the past, access to and use of this field was administered by the Orange Park and Recreation Commission. As a result of a 1995 dispute with regard to the placing of a private display at HPCC Field, and in light of a recent decision of the United States Supreme Court, the Board of Selectmen finds it to be in the best interest of the Town to reestablish and clarify its policy regarding the placing of displays at the field as follows:
The Town of Orange shall regulate the placing of displays at HPCC Field pursuant to Section 7-148(c)(7) and Section 7-148(c)(10) of the Connecticut General Statutes.
The past use of the HPCC Field as a local public forum is hereby formally recognized.
The public health, safety and welfare of the Town is best served by requiring any resident or locally based non-profit organizations wishing to place a passive display at HPCC Field to apply for and obtain a specific use permit.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- PASSIVE DISPLAY
- An unattended, non-mechanical, non-electrical depiction, exhibition or arrangement of items and/or things all of which contain no combustible or flammable parts, are less than eight feet in height, and which commemorate, honor, recall, state or predict an event, concept, idea, place, thing or time.
- PASSIVE DISPLAY PERMIT
- A written approval authorizing the placing of a passive display.
General rules: General rules applicable to any and all organizations or individual using the High Plains Community Center under the terms of these regulations.
A person or organization wishing to use the HPCC Field for a purpose permitted by these regulations shall be required to file an application in form promulgated by the Park and Recreation Commission and to obtain a written passive display permit to be issued by the Park and Recreation Commission.
Such person or organization shall pay a nonrefundable application fee of $75 to the Park and Recreation Commission.
The use of HPCC Field shall be restricted to residents of the Town of Orange or a nonprofit organization (as defined in Section 501 of IRS code) the majority of whose membership (at least 80%) is composed of residents of the Town of Orange.
In the use of HPCC Field, all ordinances of the Town of Orange and all state, federal and other laws which may be applicable must be adhered to.
The request must be made in writing and filed in the office of the Recreation Department of the Town of Orange within the time provided in these regulations.
Upon the completion of the activity permitted, the individual or organization which applies for the permit and to whom the permit is issued shall be responsible for restoring the HPCC Field to the condition that it was prior to the event.
No vehicles are permitted on the HPCC Field either as a display or for any purpose unless prior approval is given by the Park and Recreation Commission or its duly authorized agent.
Location: The Park and Recreation Commission shall within 30 days of the effective date of this article, and by January 30th annually thereafter, advise the Board of Selectmen in writing as to the designated locations at HPCC Field for passive displays.
Number of locations and size of area: The Park and Recreation Commission shall designate no more than two 100 square foot areas (each 10 feet by 10 feet) for placing of passive displays.
Duration of display: Displays may remain for a maximum of 10 consecutive days.
Frequency: Any individual or group may display once per year.
Intensity: A maximum of two displays, one per each area, may be in place at any one time.
Application process: Application for placement of a display must be made no earlier than one year and at least 45 business days (business days mean days on which Town Hall Building Department is open) in advance of the requested display period. Applications will be granted on a first come, first serve basis. Applications shall be filed with Park and Recreation Commission. All displays must comply with all applicable building, health and other Town and state laws and regulations including these related to zoning, health and safety.
Inspection and examination: The Park and Recreation Commission or its duly authorized agent will examine both applications and displays to confirm compliance with these regulations. Applications which do not comply with these requirements will not be approved. Displays which do not comply will not be permitted.
Height and safety limitations: No display shall be more than eight feet high above ground level and no display shall present a threat to health or safety.
Decision: Decisions on applications will be made within 45 calendar days after the Park and Recreation Commission receives such application at its regularly scheduled meeting immediately following the filing of an application (See Subsection G above). Failure to make a decision within said time shall be deemed an approval.
Disclaimer: Each display must be accompanied by a disclaimer sign, 12 inches high and 24 inches wide, within the 10 foot square area, no less than 24 inches nor more than 36 inches above the ground, stating in clear and visible letters: "This sign is erected, owned and sponsored by (name and address of organization) clearly displaying the name and address (town and city) of the sponsor."
Town disclaimer: The Town may display a sign in the area disclaiming any Town sponsorship or endorsement of the messages contained in or represented by the display.
Modifications: The Town may make reasonable modifications of this policy, limited to issues of time, place and manner of displays so long as said change does not prohibit the display of unattended symbols, religious or other, on HPCC Field.
Restoration of HPCC Field: Each applicant, as part of and by filing an application, shall agree to restore the ground and the premises to its original condition and shall provide the Town with a bond to cover and guarantee the costs of clean up and repairs in the amount of $10,000. The applicant's liability shall be limited to damage caused by the applicant or its agents. The applicant, by its application, shall agree to hold harmless, indemnify, and defend the Town against any liability, caused by the applicant or its agents, related to said installation, placement, display or removal.
Insurance: Applicant shall provide with, and attach to, application:
Obscene displays: The Town will not permit any display which is obscene as defined by Connecticut General Statute 53a-193 (copy attached), which is likely to incite imminent lawless action, or which is otherwise unprotected by the First Amendment.
Editor's Note: Said attachment is on file in the Town offices.
Nothing herein shall supersede existing signage guidelines now in effect and administered by the Plan and Zoning Commission and the Zoning Enforcement Officer.