The Putnam Township Planning Commission is considering ways to make it easier for businesses to hold large outdoor gatherings.

The planning commission is looking to make the process less difficult and encumbering to businesses, but also to better protect the township and its residents. The commission’s planning consultant offered a pair of possible options. One would be to tie it in to the township’s assembly ordinance which is currently applicable to events attended by 750 people or more and reduce that number. The other was to leave the assembly ordinance as-is, and establish a new one with less strict criteria attached to it. For example, an ordinance for a smaller large gathering might not require the same levels of insurance or restrooms that the current one does.

Putnam Township Fire Marshal Jennifer Koch said that many times she doesn’t hear about large events until she reads about them on social media or drives by them in progress. She said she was all in favor of businesses holding special events and believes they are good for the community, but safety is still her primary concern. The commission also considered ideas for putting the permit up for application on the township’s website, like burn permits. That way Koch will see all of the requests and it could potentially save the applicant a meeting with the township Board of Trustees. The planning commission will continue to pursue these ideas at a future meeting. (MK)