The 2019 Maple Lawn Street Festival (scheduled for July 13th) has officially been canceled. Here is information from the event organizers about the cancelation:
Dear Community Association Residents:
It is with great disappointment that I write you to share the news that we have had to cancel our July 13, 2019 Street Festival. My family and I have enjoyed this event as much as all of you and we typically look forward to it each year with great anticipation.
Unfortunately, as some of you know, Howard County has found it necessary this year to implement, for the first time, permit fees that would cost us nearly $20,000, above and beyond the tens of thousands of dollars our partners and we had already agreed to spend, and have been doing so for many years. This additional fee simply made the Festival cost prohibitive.
Where do we go from here? I assure you that my colleagues and l, and our valued partners, will immediately begin working with our county government representatives to explore any, and all ways that we can reestablish our popular Street Festival (and its marvelous fireworks show and community participation opportunities) for next year and thereafter.
We share your disappointment and assure you that we will work hard to figure out a way to return the Street Festival to our beloved community.
We will be in touch with you as details progress. Thank you for living in our great community and thank you for your anticipated understanding.
View PDF of the announcement HERE.
If you visit the website you will see that the link in the menu for this event has been removed: http://www.maplelawnfestivals.com/
I reached out to Howard County Police Department to see what more I could learn about the nearly $20,000 costs this year for the event. Here is what I learned:
In 2018, the county council implemented changes to the Howard County Code that affected the special event permit process. The new code requires event promotors to pay for costs incurred by the county that are required to support the event and protect the public’s safety and welfare.
In December 2018, all promoters who had previously organized events in Howard County received an email notifying them of the new county code and the upcoming fee structure. A representative from the Maple Lawn Street Festival was included on that email (attached for your reference).
In January 2019, the same organizers received a second email with notification that the a new online permit system was operational (attached for your reference). The online permit home page shows the following message when a user signs on:
Application Fees are Non-refundable
Special Events – $50.00 application fee
Concert Events – $200.00 application fee (over 2,000 attendees)
Effective January 1, 2019, permit fees will be assessed.
Fees estimated to be $1500.00 or less no charge
Fees exceeds $1500, Applicant pays 50% of the amount that exceeds $1,500
Applicant pays 100% of the fee
An organizer for the Maple Lawn Festival signed on and applied for a permit for the festival, along with more than 100 other applicants for events throughout the year. Each request was processed in the order of the upcoming events and evaluated for staffing needs for traffic direction, parking enforcement and security. To maintain the same level of staffing required for the Maple Lawn event last year, an invoice for $19,443 was emailed to the Maple Lawn organizer on June 17, followed by a paper copy on June 18 from the Howard County Department of Finance. The county code requires this notification be sent no later than two weeks before the event.
Hope this helps!
Director of Public Affairs
Office of the Chief of Police
and I had two additional follow up questions for HCPD:
When in 2018 did the County Council make this change to the Howard County Code?
You’ll have to check with the council for the exact date. I can confirm the Application Fee requirement took effect in May of 2018 and the Permit Fee requirement took effect in January 2019.
Can you tell me what level of staffing this event had last year that makes up the more than $19,000?
The staffing is a combination of traffic enforcement to ensure roadways are safe and passible; parking enforcement so attendees are not utilizing unapproved parking locations impeding general street traffic or patron traffic to stores, businesses, sidewalks and other public areas; and security for the event. For safety reasons, we cannot release the specific details about the number of officers or their assignments.
The changes implemented to the Howard County Code that affected the special event permit process was driven by Council Bill 12-2018…which was introduced by The Howard County Chairperson at the request of the County Executive (Allan Kittleman) and was passed by the Howard County Council unanimously in March of 2018.
Link to view the legislation: https://apps.howardcountymd.gov/olis/LegislationDetail.aspx?LegislationID=2992
I and many others are disappointed that this event will not be happening in 2019. Hopefully the event organizers will be able to get this event off the ground again in 2020.
The Maple Lawn Autumn Harvest Music Festival is scheduled for October 12, 2019 (LEARN MORE). We had a great time with the grandkid at that event last fall so we will be looking forward to attending that event again later this year.
Hopefully other event organizers in Howard County are aware of the changes that have taken affect and will plan for the potential new costs to their events.
Note: The image in the article was a screenshot of the event page on the website and I added the “cancelled” on top of that screenshot.