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SPI Event Organizers Disagree with Stricter Guidelines

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SOUTH PADRE ISLAND – The owner of a popular business in South Padre Island is concerned a recent decision from city leaders is going to hurt his business.

Clayton's Beach Bar and Grill attracts thousands of vacationers throughout the year, especially spring breakers.

"The four months on South Padre Island that create the most income are Spring Break, June, July and August," Clayton's owner, Clayton Brashear, said. "We get a lot of Winter Texan business, but it doesn't compare to those four months. We can’t afford to lose a month."

CHANNEL 5 NEWS reported Wednesday city officials approved an ordinance that set stricter guidelines for events of 1,000 people or more.

The approved ordinance for large events requires event organizers to:

  • Apply for permits at least four weeks in advance

  • Hire two police officers and two security guards per 1,000 people, if event serves alcohol

  • Provide one portable restroom per 300 people

  • Provide a trash can per 200 people

  • Submit a parking and emergency response plan

South Padre Island Police Chief Randy Smith said these requirements are not set to make things hard on event organizers, but rather to better prepare for the crowds.

"We used to have these pop-up events overnight or within a few days, and then we didn't know where to best put our resources or how many officers to have on or where to move apparatuses to. This helps us to better define the situation,” he explained.

Brashear said setting strict restrictions on large events discourages event organizers, visitors and eliminates jobs for people in the Valley.

"We create a lot of jobs during Spring Break with off-duty police officers, EMS," Brashear said. "Lots of people come from McAllen, Harlingen and Brownsville to work on South Padre Island. They count on that to make a living."

Chief Smith said city officials are not reinventing the wheel with these event guidelines.

He said the city reviewed existing ordinances from other towns, similar to the island, for guidance.

He added city officials are not discouraging tourism.

"It's going to help us roll-up our sleeves and become more bonded with the events that go on in town, because we're going to have some ownership with them, some understanding. Our mission is to create balance, not havoc,” he said.

Besides the guidelines mentioned above, the approved ordinance also requires the following: 

  • One certified EMT on site per 1,000 to 3,000 people, at minimum

  • A food proposal plan, if food is to be served

  • A mitigation plan to minimize impact on surrounding neighborhoods

  • A site plan detailing location of stage, all entries and exits, restrooms and fence

Smith said the city can also impose added requirements as they see fit. 

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