Special events policy approved
Bicycle races and a proposed policy for special events held on Washington County secondary roads generated a 45-minute debate at the Washington County Board of Supervisors’ weekly meeting this morning.
County engineer Jacob Thorius recommended the policy and a one-page form to the board. He said that the policy’s intent is to encourage communication between people who organize events that involve the use of county roads and the secondary roads department. The form would also need to go to the county sheriff’s office, the county auditor’s office, and to the board of supervisors.
Thorius said the policy is intended to try to minimize problems between the special event organizers and the county departments. He would be able to tell people about upcoming road construction projects that could impact a bicycle race, for example.
Richard Gilmore of Washington organizes bicycle races that use county roads. He said that if a race course needs to change because of a construction project, the route could be easily changed and the cyclists informed about the changes. He objected to the policy and form because cyclists are citizens and they have citizens’ rights.
Supervisor Stan Stoops voted against the motion to approve the policy. He said the county has good law enforcement and secondary roads.
“We have good law enforcement in this county and it would be good to let them do their job as they have been doing on special events all along,” he said. “I don’t see the need to come up with a new form with special requirements and a final say so by the county engineer.”
Board chairman Steve Davis spoke directly to Gilmore and confirmed that in the past Gilmore has talked to the sheriff’s office ahead of the race. He said the policy and form would follow the steps Gilmore has used in the past when planning a race.
Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. made the motion to approve the policy. Supervisor Richard Young seconded the motion.
Supervisor Bob Yoder asked who would have the final say.
The board of supervisors would, Seward said. He said the board could overrule objects by the auditor, sheriff or engineer and approve an event.
The motion passed on a 3-to-2 vote with Stoops and Yoder voting no.
In other business, the supervisors received an objection to an animal confinement feeding operation. See Wednesday’s Journal for more details.