Public safety officials are seeking input from residents on an ordinance that would require a permit for large public events.

Public comment on the proposal will be heard at tonight’s town council meeting.

Brunswick Police Cmdr. Mark Waltz, in a Sept. 25 memorandum to Town Manager John Eldridge, said there have been some large events in town that the public safety officials and residents were unaware of and unprepared for. He cited a “Color Me Rad” road race several years ago that had 5,000 participants and caused significant traffic problems at Cook’s Corner because there was no traffic plan.

The ordinance — crafted by police, fire department officials, the town manager and the recreation department — seeks to require organizers to apply for a permit to hold events if they expect 100 or more participants. The proposal suggests the application be submitted online and then forwarded to department heads for review. The proposed cost for the application is $50.

If an organizer does not apply for a permit, fines can range from $500 to $5,000. If the matter goes to court, then a provision is included that would make the organizer responsible for the town’s attorney fees.

The purpose of the ordinance is to ensure the town is aware of events and that organizers must heed town recommendations, and in some cases, will require the event planners to cover the cost of extra services provided by the town. Waltz noted that some services cannot be charged for, including police protection of people exercising free speech rights.

The application would need to be submitted 30 days before the event is scheduled, or 60 days if the event will draw a crowd of more than 300. The notice is to protect the safety of those attending the event, and the public in general.

Exempt from the permit process would be an event sponsored by the town, or an event regulated by the school or recreation department, so long as those events are held on school or recreation department property.

The Town Council meets at 7 p.m. at town hall.

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