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Terre Haute Council Adopts Changes To Dance Ordinance

The council formed a special committee tasked with studying the dance permit ordinance (Barbara Brosher, WFIU/WTIU News).

Terre Haute city leaders hope changes to a local ordinance will help eliminate confusion about who needs a permit to host a public dance or event.

The city council adopted a controversial rule in 2016 that required a permit for any public dance within Terre Haute. Some residents complained the language was too broad and confusing.

That led the council to form a special committee tasked with studying the rule and recommending changes.

The council adopted a revised version of the ordinance Thursday night that means it now applies not just to dances, but most special events.

The revised ordinance also reduces the amount of liability insurance required for those hosting special events to $1 million.

Council member Martha Crossen says the rule is necessary because the city had issues with several parties before they adopted the rules.

“Prior to that we had a series of events in a fairly short period of time which had been really problematic for the community which resulted in people being harmed or gunshots being taken at events,” says Crossen.

But resident Tommy Williams says he doesn’t think the changes address his concerns. Police cited him for not having a permit to host his birthday party, which they say was open to the public and included a DJ.

Williams challenged the citation in city court and lost.

He’s worried changes to the ordinance still don’t make the permitting process clear.

“They still want you to go get a permit,” Williams says. “Why should we have to pay for a permit when you just having a good time with your family?”

The ordinance doesn’t apply to private parties.

Crossen says people can call the city’s legal department if they have questions about whether their event requires a permit.

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