JACKSON – The members of the Jackson Township Council have adopted an ordinance that will streamline the process for the acquisition of temporary special permits relating to entertainment and music festivals.
The ordinance was adopted on Oct. 12 by council President Andrew Kern, Vice President Martin Flemming, Councilman Nino Borrelli, Councilman Stephen Chisholm and Councilman Alexander Sauickie.
The ordinance states that in about 1972 – around the time the Six Flags Great Adventure theme park opened in the township – Jackson officials “adopted a special permit process with respect to rock music festivals, jazz festivals or other mass musical or public entertainment uses of a temporary nature.”
In acting on the revised ordinance, Kern, Flemming, Borrelli, Chisholm and Sauickie said they wanted to “update and streamline the process for such permits.”
The revised ordinance will amend the current law to redesignate the permits as “temporary special use permits for mass musical or public entertainment events within the township.”
The ordinance states that “No person, group of persons, partnership, association or corporation … shall maintain, conduct, promote or operate, on any lands or premises (in Jackson), other than in established auditoriums and other places licensed or permitted for public occupancy … any use thereof for the purposes of mass musical or public entertainment purposes … except pursuant to a special permit issued by the township.”
During the Oct. 12 public hearing that preceded the council’s vote to adopt the ordinance, one resident questioned the reasoning behind the ordinance and the process itself and asked if the revised ordinance was in the best interest of the township.
Kern said the previous ordinance was outdated and from a time when Jackson had a different form of municipal government than it has today (the municipality had a Township Committee form of government which was subsequently changed to the present mayor and Township Council form of government).
Kern said, “For this ordinance, the reason for the change is not because we are trying to take power away from ourselves and condense it somewhere else. When the (township’s form of) government changed, that power was already removed.
“We (council members) have no dealings in the day-to-day running of the township. … So we would have needed an ordinance for each individual festival or permit, which was not the idea,” he said, adding that no other permits work in the same manner.
In other business, the council members adopted an ordinance that executes a lease agreement between the Jackson Soccer Club and the township regarding property known as Vista Feilds for five years, with township officials having the option to extend the lease for up to three additional five-year terms or until June 30, 2041.