The City of Martinsburg recognizes the public’s right of assembly and free speech and the use of designated public facilities for such purpose. The City also recognizes the crucial and substantial benefits of special events, which provide cultural enrichment, promote economic vitality and enhance community identity and pride, as well as provide opportunities for fundraising for community non-profit organizations. The City of Martinsburg seeks to accommodate public rights in a manner that is consistent with governmental interest by establishing policies, procedures, terms, conditions and rates for the use of public spaces and facilities for such purposes of parades, assemblages and special events.
Article 155.01 of the Codified Ordinance of the City of Martinsburg applies to all public parades, assemblies and special events that may be expected to affect the public, property or services of the City of Martinsburg, or, otherwise require an expenditure of time or resources or create the potential for liability of public disturbance or other substantial concern, not limited to the assurance of free and safe passage or pedestrian and vehicular traffic on the public rights of way and the safe use and enjoyment of public spaces open to the general public. This article also applies to the use of public facilities or spaces for purposes other than governmental operations.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
When do I need a permit?
A permit is required if you are planning to hold a parade, sporting event, concert, public demonstration, 5k race, cultural festival, street fair, block party, or any other event that may require traffic or crowd control, substantial clean-up services or other neighborhood disruption.
When do I NOT need a permit?
The following activities are exempted from permit requirements, thought it is still requested that City Hall be notified so that proper resources or services can be organized:
- Spontaneous public event–any unplanned or unannounced coming together of people, animals or vehicles in a parade or public assembly which is not contemplated beforehand by any participant and which is caused by, or in response to, unforeseen circumstances or events occasioned by news or affairs first coming into public knowledge within five (5) days of such parade or public assembly;
- A public assembly (meeting, march, demonstration, picket line, rally or gathering) in which there are less than twenty-five (25) participants;
- Recreational activities, including walking or jogging, which do not require closure of a public street or other rights of way and that do not interfere, or have a tendency to interfere, with the normal use of any public property in a place open to the general public;
- Funeral processions;
- Students going to and from classes or participating in educational activities, provided that such conduct is under the immediate direction and supervision of proper school authorities;
- The United States Army, Navy, Marine Corp, Coast Guard, Air Force or any other branch or organization under the direction of the United States Armed Forces, the military forces of the State or the police and fire division of the City of Martinsburg, Berkeley County or State of West Virginia, acting in official capacity;
- A governmental agency/agencies acting within the scope of its functions; or
- Events taking place solely on the grounds of City owned property under the regulation and maintenance of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation, or any other privately owned property
Is there a cost to obtaining a permit?
Yes, the application fee for all permit applications is $25, unless the event is taking place solely in the Town Square Pedestrian Plaza and is not likely to require City services or the closure of intersections. There are also costs for City services, which may be waived ONLY if the event is City funded or City co-funded. The Ordinance does not allow the City to waive fees for services for any other events, regardless if the event is a fund raiser, sponsored by a non-profit, or is a new event or an annually recurring event.
If you are requesting a regularly recurring event, such as a weekly concert series or a Town Square reservation on a weekly or monthly basis, you are only required to apply one time per year, indicating that your event is recurring.
How long does it take to process my application?
Applications must be complete and submitted at least 60 day prior to the event. This time frame allows departments to review the request and make recommendations for Council approval. Due to the consideration offered to each event, in terms of public safety, code review, event safety and public works assistance, it is not possible for expedited review. The City of Martinsburg wishes for each event to be as safe and well-served as possible, and appreciates your consideration when submitting applications.
Ordinance 2016-32: An Ordinance Amending the City of Martinsburg Code, Part One–Administrative, Article 155: Special Events, by Adding Sections 155.01 through 155.10 to Provide for the Regulating and Permitting of Special Events and Parades