Saugatuck Center For The Arts Failed To Get City Permit To Use Public Parking Spaces
The Saugatuck Center for the Arts (SCA) and the City of Saugatuck have hit a stumbling block over use of city property when it comes to special events, particularly wedding receptions.
The issue surfaced at Monday’s Saugatuck City Council meeting when Saugatuck City Council Member Bill Hess pointed out that a recent SCA-related event made use of the Culver Stree public parking spaces, including using the spaces for the set up of tents and cooking equipment, without the required city mandated permit.
At $25 per parking space per event, the city collects parking fees to compensate the taxpayers for the lost parking revenue, city officials said.
“I am not saying we wouldn’t have approved this (special event), but they did it without asking,” said Hess.
“(Before approving any future special events for the SCA), I want to be assured everybody in the SCA knows the requirements of using city property,” he added.
At the meeting the council had a special event application motion before it for the use of two parking spaces in the city’s Culver Street parking lot, spaces that would be used by wedding caterers so as to have easy access to the SCA building.
Caterers, who rent space and equipment from the SCA, would use the parking spaces throughout specified times, August through October.
SCA rental coordinator Teresa Zerfas was on hand at the meeting Monday. She acknowledged there may have been a communication breakdown between the SCA and the city.
“Weddings take place off-site, nothing to do with the SCA,” Zerfas told council.
She said vendors are aware of the rules regarding public space usage and that there has never been any issues before.
As for Hess’ comments about the failure by SCA to get permission from the city, Zerfas said that was a special benefit event where “(communication and the required city approval) slipped through the cracks; it wasn’t intentional.”
Zerfas went on to note that weddings and wedding receptions that take place in the community bring a lot of revenue to the city because they represent clients to the various downtown merchants that cater to visitors.
Council members were quick to point out that while that was true, it was a factor that is not related to the matter at hand.
They voted to table the SCA special request, noting they would discuss the matter and hash out ideas at an August 13 council workshop—before any SCA requested dates—so as to come up with a workable solution.