New rules could put brakes on races in Columbia County

Monday, April 22, 2013 5:40 PM
Last updated 10:02 PM
  • Follow Government

Columbia County officials could put the brakes on a few races with a proposed ordinance.

Set for discussion today during the Com­munity and Emergency Services Committee meeting, the proposal would require permits and fees for “road races, parades or public assemblies that would burden the public properties and roadways in Columbia County,” according to committee documents.

The ordinance generally would apply to any event that closes public access to streets.

“The issue we’re having is we’re beginning to get more and more requests for these type of races,” particularly 5K fundraiser runs and charity bike rides, said Columbia County Administrator Scott Johnson. “But what’s happening is organizers are organizing the races, determining their own routes and then coming to the county and saying, ‘We need such-and-such road shut down.’ ”

One recent 11-hour request, for example, would have cost the county an estimated $2,500 to rent traffic barrels and would have required employees to block off parts of major highways for a race that would have netted organizers about $5,000, Johnson said.

“One reason it’s almost all profit is the county is taking it on the chin,” he added.

Events that could be affected by the ordinance include everything from the annual Merchants Association Christmas parade to the Jingle Jam 10k.

The ordinance, which requires 45-day notice for such events, “is not an attempt to stop anything,” Johnson said.

“It’s more for our own awareness, budgeting and planning purposes,” he said.

The committee meets at 9 a.m. today at the Evans Government Center Auditorium.

Comments (11) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Little Lamb
Little Lamb 04/22/13 - 05:58 pm
Sounds Reasonable

But then, once the camel's nose gets inside the tent, you know what happens.

itsanotherday1 04/22/13 - 09:11 pm
I agree LL, it sounds reasonable.

I don't mind true charity events too much, but if anybody is profiting 1 dime from it, the cost to the county (us) should be considered.

Example: They recently had an event/competion at Hickory Knob State Park for which the organizers/sponsors profited. They essentially destroyed the bike/hiking trail because it was raining heavily and there was no rain contingency plan. The organizers have given lip service to helping restore the trail, but it remains to be seen what actually happens. The trail is so mangled with ruts that it is closed to hikers and cyclists, and will cost many thousands in time/equipment/manpower to restore it. That will come in hard costs to the state of SC and sweat equity from many, many volunteers.

paulwheeler 04/22/13 - 09:42 pm
Oh whine, everyone knows that

Oh whine, everyone knows that what is now "Columbia County" would not exist if not for the sacred automobile! We must not waste money on such silly charitable events that might interfere with traffic!

mosovich 04/22/13 - 09:44 pm
Uh no..

No, it's not against the law.. Permits are issued and people are notified well in advance...

soapy_725 04/23/13 - 07:01 am
The races could be held on a track or within a park.

Runners used to run around Lake Olmstead. Teams running for a set number of laps or time increments. How about the Augusta Canal Path? The River Walk? It may be the "see me" thing that necessitates busy thoroughfares?

MTBer 04/23/13 - 08:13 am
It does make sense.

I don't see this as a money grab, although it will definitely affect the smaller races. Most of these races are not done "for profit", but the money instead goes to various charities. Volunteers are the ones that make it work. I always make it a point to thank the numerous volunteers along the routes, and I always thank the officers at the intersections, although I realize they are getting paid.

All that said, the bottom line is that I do believe that anytime costs are incurred by the county/city, that should be reimbursed. If the event is not large enough to cover the cost, take it to the towpath or the swamp where the out of pocket will be minimal.

Last note: I am so thankful to live in an area that promotes outdoor activities. Yes, there is something healthy to do just about every weekend of the year. Cycling, running, kayaking, etc. So awesome.

David Parker
David Parker 04/23/13 - 08:58 am
I'm down with it as long as

I'm down with it as long as the money saved is used to put in sidewalks so that the races can continue without hindering the consumption of petrol. As an added benefit, people can just walk on them instead of the sides of the road....for no particular reason.

itsanotherday1 04/23/13 - 12:31 pm
Dichotomy, I agree with you

Dichotomy, I agree with you on that part; no one should be denied ingress/egress to their home for anything short of an emergency. It seems to me that the race held at the lake could accomodate that handful of folks who live off 221 between Pollard's Corner and the dam. As for other roads, I don't care as long as the taxpayers are not footing part of the bill for some organizer's financial gain.
Heck, I would love to see Broad Street shut down from 8th to 10th or so for street festivals and so on. It would be super to see that kind of activity downtown.

my.voice 04/23/13 - 01:25 pm
Im glad they dont have any

Im glad they dont have any other pressing problems in Columbia County than those evil parades and foot races.

yesiwill 04/23/13 - 02:49 pm
it all our tax money

To Dichotomy. You are not denied access to your property, just auto access on a street that all the tax payers supplied. Feel free to walk, or ride a horse or bike to your house.
Quit whining and go for a walk!

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs