(Michael Chamberlain/Nevada Business Coalition) – The Clark County Fire Department (CCFD) accepted all of the proposed changes to its Places of Assembly permits created by NBC in consultation with an alliance of affected companies and industry organizations, such as the Nevada Restaurant Association (NvRA) and Nevada Tavern Owners Association (NTOA). NBC worked closely with Katherine Jacobi of the NvRA in developing these revisions to address the concerns expressed by Ms. Jacobi and the members of her and the other groups.
These new guidelines are included among the current list of draft regulations on the CCFD website (on page 2). The Places of Assembly requirements are here. These new Places of Assembly permit guidelines are currently scheduled to take effect on September 15, 2011.
A couple months ago the CCFD instituted requirements for obtaining these permits, which were part of the changes resulting from the 2005 Fire Code as adopted by Clark County. The permits themselves start at a mere $75 but the submittal requirements can run into the thousands.
These required professionally-drawn plans, which can run from $0.50 to $2.00 per square foot. The plans had to include the locations of items such as all tables, chairs, drapes, decorations and others.
The revised submittal requirements mean that many establishments could comply without hiring a professional to provide drawings. Conforming drawings could be created with a pad of paper and a measuring tape.
Though the CCFD asserted that plans on file with the County Building Department could be used for this purpose, the document did not state that. In addition, there was nothing in the guidelines that could have prevented an inspector from claiming that a business was in violation if a couple of tables had been moved to accommodate a large party.
To their credit the CCFD has been very accommodating since they became aware of the seriousness of the issue upon reading our initial report. They expressed that they did not intend these requirements to exert an unnecessary burden on businesses and their actions reflected that.
They participated in a meeting with NBC, NvRA, NTOA and individual business owners who were subject to the new requirements and have actively communicated with these businesses and groups and other concerned parties. From all appearances they made honest efforts to address concerns as they understood them and the current version of the guidelines is evidence of that.
While not every agency and organization in government is quite as understanding of the burdens they exert on businesses, we have to commend the CCFD for their willingness to craft the requirements for the Places of Assembly permits without imposing unnecessary costs and burdens on business.
The new requirements will mean significant savings on the costs of submittals for the Places of Assembly permits for many businesses.