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> Special Events Permits > Land Use Code Section 7

Land Use Code - Special Events

This document covers section 7 of the Larimer County Land Use Code governing Special Events.

Special Events. Special Events are allowed in unincorporated Larimer County, excluding the Estes Valley, upon issuance of a Special Event Permit as provided in this Section.

  1. Intent Purpose and Applicability.

    This section is applicable in all zone districts in Larimer County for all special events as defined in Section 3. The intent and purpose of this Section is to provide for the temporary use of land for Special Events in all zone districts, to provide for the orderly control of Special Events by establishing appropriate permit requirements and regulations, to ensure the promoter or sponsor of a Special Event is aware of any special circumstances that may have an impact on the success of their event and to minimize any significant effects of a Special Event on adjacent and nearby property owners, residents and businesses or which would impact the prevailing site conditions, traffic and circulation patterns, land use characteristics or the nature of the proposed use.

    This section is not applicable to any event occurring on any Larimer County road or other county owned property or County park or open lands property. Any event utilizing a Larimer County road or other County property is required to obtain a Special Events permit, as described in the Resolution Establishing Special Event Permit Requirements For Larimer County Roads. Any event occurring on County Park or Open Lands property shall be regulated by the rules and regulations of the County Parks and Open Lands department.

  2. Permit Required

    No person, organization, association, business or other entity shall allow a Special Event to occur within the unincorporated area of Larimer County, Colorado, without first having obtained a Special Event Permit.

  3. Special Event Defined/Restrictions
    1. A Special Event shall mean the use of privately owned land, buildings or structures for a gathering where it is reasonably anticipated that attendance will exceed 300 people at any single time, at any location, for any purpose. Special Events include, but are not limited to:
      1. Carnivals
      2. Circuses
      3. Concerts
      4. Revivals
      5. Flea markets
      6. Craft fairs or markets
      7. Parades
      8. Fund-raisers
      9. Farmers markets or stands for sale of seasonal products when sold other than on the site where the product is grown.
    2. Special Events do not include gatherings at any regularly established, permanent place of worship, stadium, athletic field, arena, auditorium, fairgrounds, coliseum, picnic or camping area, sale or auction of agricultural lands or personal property, polling places for special or general elections, or other similar permanently established place of assembly provided that such place is being used for its established and normal use allowed by zoning, attendance does not exceed the maximum seating capacity of the structure or place where the gathering is held, and the gathering complies with all other County ordinances, resolutions and regulations. Special Events do not include temporary uses as identified in Sec. 4.3.9 of this Code.
    3. A Special Event shall not exceed thirty days duration, either consecutively or cumulatively in any calendar year.
    4. Events that will have attendance of 300 people, or less, are permitted in all zoning districts and do not require a permit. The property owner or organizer of the event may apply for a permit, but, in all cases, they should consult with the Department of Health and Environment and the emergency service providers (sheriff, fire department, ambulance service) in that area.
  4. Process
    1. Application:

      At least 60 days prior to the requested start date of the proposed Special Event requiring a permit, a Special Event Permit Application shall be submitted to the County Manager as designee of the Larimer County Planning Director. The Application shall include the following information:

      1. The name, residence and mailing address of all persons signing the application, and in the case of a corporation, a copy of the Articles of Incorporation and Certificate of Good Standing from the Colorado Secretary of State's Office.
      2. The address, assessor parcel number, and legal description of all property upon which the event is to be held, together with the name, residence and mailing address of the record owners of the property.
      3. A written description indicating: the type of event, the event sponsor(s), the location of the event or event route, a list of all roads affected, the duration of the event, the hours of operation, the expected water requirements (including the source and supply of water), the number of employees/volunteers, the number and location of toilets, the maximum number of persons that will be permitted to attend at any single time, the methods applicant will use to insure the maximum number of allowed attendees at any single time is not exceeded, food or alcoholic beverages to be served, temporary structures or fences proposed, the anticipated parking needs and how the need is to be addressed, a statement of expected impacts to the subject land and surrounding properties, and a statement describing how impacts on surrounding properties will be minimized.
      4. A sketch with dimensions, showing all of the following: existing and proposed buildings, internal streets on the event site, adjacent off-site streets, property lines on the proposed site and on abutting properties, the location of the event or event route, the location of proposed structures (including restrooms, storage bins, trash receptacles, temporary buildings, etc.), the location of traffic controls proposed (including road barriers, detour signs, traffic control lights, traffic personnel, etc.), access to/from the site, parking areas (showing access, number of parking spaces, parking barriers, surfacing, etc.), and activity areas (e.g. parking areas, food and beverage areas, seating, etc.)
      5. A description of any signage associated with the event. Temporary signs to promote or identify an approved Special Event are subject to the following restrictions:
        1. All special event signs must be located on the lot that is the site of the Special Event;
        2. The maximum sign size is 32 square feet;
        3. Each approved Special Event is limited to one sign per street frontage of the lot that is the site of the Special Event;
        4. Banners are permitted as long as the total square footage of all banners does not exceed 100 square feet; and
        5. Signs and banners promoting or identifying a Special Event are not subject to a separate permitting requirement but all such signs and banners must be removed from the site within 24 hours of the end of the approved Special Event.
      6. Written confirmation from the property owner(s) agreeing to the use of their property for the Special Event or a copy of the lease agreement showing that the Special Event is allowed to occur on the property.
      7. A nonrefundable application processing fee in an amount established by the Board of County Commissioners.
      8. Any additional information the County Manager deems necessary to evaluate the Special Event.
    2. Application Review

      Upon determining that the Special Event Permit Application is complete, the County Manager will evaluate the Special Event Permit Application. The County Manager may refer the Application to any other County or non-County department, agency or official whose consideration the County Manager deems essential to a full and complete assessment. The applicant is responsible for providing the necessary number of copies of the application for this referral. In reviewing the application, the County Manager will consider the following:

      1. The adequacy of the site sketch.
      2. The adequacy of the site to accommodate the Special Event proposed.
      3. The degree to which the Special Event complies or will be able to comply with the requirements of Section (F)(5).
      4. The preservation of the health, safety and welfare of the public and surrounding properties and uses.
    3. Action on Application

      Within 30 days of filing of a complete Special Event Application, the County Manager will take one of the following actions:

      1. Issue the permit with conditions: The County Manager will issue the permit with any conditions deemed necessary to minimize potential adverse impacts and meet the intent and purpose of this Section.
      2. Deny the permit: If the proposed Special Event fails to conform with the applicable provisions, requirements or standards of this Section, the County Manager will deny the permit. If denied, the County Manager shall specify the reasons therefore, in writing, citing specific requirements, provisions and standards in this Section or in applicable provisions of other laws, rules or regulations that were not met.
    4. Appeals
      1. Any decision by the County Manager to either grant or deny the Special Event Permit may be appealed to the Board of County Commissioners. The County must receive the appeal within five (5) calendar days following the date on which the County Manager issues his/her decision. The appeal must be in writing and must state specifically why the County Manager's decision is incorrect or inconsistent with the provisions, intent or purpose of this Section.
      2. The Board of County Commissioners will consider the appeal in an open meeting. The Board may overturn or modify the County Manager's decision if the Board determines the County Manager's decision is incorrect or inconsistent with the provisions, intent or purpose of this Section.
  5. Special Events Performance Standards

    Special Events may be required by the County Manager to comply with any or all of the following conditions, except for Subsections D, I and J which may only be waived with the approval of the Larimer County Health Department, the fire district or the Larimer County Sheriff respectively. Which requirements apply to a specific event will be determined based on the location and type of event, and after consultation with the County Sheriff, Department of Health and Environment, applicable fire authority and any other County or non-County department, agency or official whose consideration the County Manager deems essential to a full and complete assessment. All applicable requirements shall be specified in the conditions of the permit, if approved :

    1. An adequate and safe supply of potable water meeting requirements set forth by the Colorado Department of Health or County Department of Health and Environment shall be provided. Additional guidelines
    2. Separate enclosed toilets for males and females, meeting all state and local specifications, as determined by the County Department of Health and Environment, conveniently located throughout the grounds, sufficient to provide healthful facilities, for the maximum number of persons allowed at any single time, to attend the Special Event shall be provided. Additional guidelines
    3. A sanitary method of disposing of solid waste, in compliance with state and local laws and regulations, sufficient to dispose of the solid waste production of the maximum number of persons allowed at any single time to attend the Special Event. Additional guidelines
    4. As determined by the County Department of Health and Environment, the following may be required:
      1. Two (2) certified emergency medical technicians and one emergency ambulance provided for Special Events with five hundred (500) persons. One additional certified medical technician provided for every additional five hundred (500) persons. An enclosed structure where treatment may be rendered shall also be provided. Additional guidelines
      2. A Licensed Practical Nurse or Registered Nurse, licensed to practice in the State, provided for Special Events with one thousand (1,000) persons. One additional nurse provided for every additional one thousand (1,000) persons. Additional guidelines
      3. A Vector Control Plan indicating how insects, rodents, and other vermin will be controlled by proper sanitary practices, extermination or other safe and effective control methods. Where necessary, a plan to control animal ecto-parasites, and other disease transmitting and nuisance insects must be provided. Additional guidelines
    5. If the Special Event is to occur during hours of darkness, illumination sufficient to light the area of attention (stage, actors, band, etc.) be provided at the rate of at least five (5) foot-candles. Such illumination shall not be allowed to shine or reflect unreasonably beyond the boundaries of the location of the Special Event.
    6. A parking area sufficient to provide parking space for the maximum number of persons allowed at any single time to attend the Special Event. In addition, there shall be a traffic circulation system sufficient to allow safe and efficient traffic and pedestrian circulation for the maximum number of persons allowed at any single time to attend the Special Event. The flow of traffic on roads shall not be blocked or hindered, and no cars, buses or bicycles shall be allowed to park along the side of or in any public road right-of-way, without prior written approval of the County Engineering department.
    7. Adequate facilities for communication with hospital, police and fire services shall be provided and based in the medical station. Additional guidelines
    8. If the assembly is to continue overnight, camping facilities in compliance with all state and local requirements must be provided.
    9. Security which, as determined by the County Sheriff, is adequate to control any disturbances which might occur at the Special Event. An adequate plan of peer group control may be used if approved by the Larimer County Sheriff.
    10. Applicant must provide evidence that the applicable fire protection district has been notified about the Special Event. Applicant shall comply with all requirements of the fire protection district.
    11. Applicant assurance that sounds from the Special Event do not carry unreasonably beyond the boundaries of the location of the Special Event. Sound created by the Special Event which exceeds any limitations set by the Larimer County Noise Ordinance shall be presumed to be unreasonable. Additional guidelines
    12. Applicant must provide for appropriate dust mitigation. Additional guidelines
    13. If electrical systems are not self-supporting, electrical systems installation and maintenance must comply with minimum County and State electrical standards.
    14. Management of food service shall conform to the requirements of the County Department of Health and Environment. Additional guidelines
    15. Guarantees in the form of a Irrevocable Letter of Credit , bond, or cash retainer in the amount of $500 per acre to cover the cost any required grading, site restoration, dismantling and removal of structures, and clean-up following the Special Event may be required. Any letter of credit, bond or cash retainer must be irrevocable for a period of 30 days after the completion of the event. The letter of credit, bond or cash retainer will be released by the County as soon as possible after the event, after determination that the site has been adequately cleaned-up and restored from any impacts of the event. If the County has not made a determination on retention or return of the guarantee within 30 days following the event, said guarantee will be returned to the applicant.
    16. Structures and facilities shall be designed and located on the site and the site shall be maintained so as to insure:
      1. Trees, underbrush, large rocks and other natural features are left intact and undisturbed.
      2. Natural vegetative cover is retained, protected and maintained so as to facilitate drainage, prevent erosion and preserve scenic attributes.
    17. For Special Events that involve exotic animals, including but not limited to circuses, carnivals, fairs, exhibitions, races, displays, educational seminars or performances, the County Manager may impose as a condition of Permit approval reasonable conditions the County Manager deems necessary or appropriate to protect the health, safety and welfare of the animals, the Permit holder, those persons conducting the Special Event, the Special Event attendees, and the general public. This Section 5.Q shall not apply to Special Events involving only livestock, domestic animals or wildlife sanctuaries licensed by the Division of Wildlife. The County Manager may consult the Humane Society or other animal welfare agencies or organizations in determining necessary and appropriate conditions.
    18. A description of the surface material of the parking area and a method-plan for handling traffic in conformance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and the Colorado Supplement.
    19. Insurance in an amount determined to be adequate and reasonable in light of the risks and hazards relating to the Special Event. Applicant may also be required to purchase Search and Rescue (SAR) Cards for some or all persons participating in the Special Event.
  6. Site Clean up and Restoration

    Within forty-eight (48) hours of cessation of the event, the Special Event site shall be returned to its previous condition, including removal of all buildings and structure, trash, debris, signage, attention-attracting devices or other evidence of the Special Event.

  7. Compliance with other regulations
    1. Special Events shall occur or operate in compliance with the provision of this Section and all applicable provisions and regulations of Larimer County and applicable State and Federal statutes and regulations.
    2. B. Issuance of a Special Event Permit shall not relieve the landowner or applicant of the responsibility for securing other permits or approvals required by the Planning Department, the Building Department, Department of Health and Environment, the Fire District or other department or agency of Larimer County or other public agency.
  8. Enforcement
    1. Inspections: The County or its representatives may enter and inspect the Special Event site from time to time to ensure compliance with the Special Event Permit conditions and to enforce the provisions of this Section.
    2. Permit Available: The Special Event Permit issued by the County must be available for inspection on the Special Event site at all times during the event.
    3. Suspension and Revocation of Permit: The County Manager may suspend or revoke a Special Event Permit for violation of any provision of this Section or any other applicable law, rule or regulation, for violation of the Permit conditions, or for any misrepresentation by the applicant, his agents or employees or independent contractors under contract with the applicant. The decision of the County Manager to suspend or revoke a Special Event Permit may be appealed to the Board of County Commissioners. No event shall occur while a suspension or revocation appeal is pending except as authorized by the County Manager. By signing the application, the applicant agrees that the Larimer County Sheriff may enter the Special Event site and cause the Special Event to be stopped upon suspension or revocation of the Special Event Permit.
    4. Letter of Credit or Cash: Upon breach of the terms and conditions for which the letter of credit, cash or other guarantees are provided pursuant to Section 5.O, the County may undertake to cure such breach, perform such condition, or cause such condition to be performed by another and may use the proceeds of the guarantee to recoup its costs.
    5. Additional Remedies: Failure to comply with this Section or with the Special Event Permit conditions is a violation of this Land Use Code for which the County is entitled to pursue and seek the remedies and penalties set out in Section 21.2
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