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MAD requests teen curfew waiver for MusicFest By Tia Lyons

Posted on July 23, 2018

The city of El Dorado has asked for additional information on a request from the Murphy Arts District to waive enforcement of the city’s juvenile curfew ordinance for MusicFest XXXI in October. The matter was on the agenda during an El Dorado City Council meeting on July 19. MAD is partnering with Main Street El Dorado to organize the event. MAD will present ticketed concerts on Oct. 18 – 20, and MSE will offer other activities, including food and arts and crafts vendors, musical acts for side stages, a zip line, KidsWorld, a NASCAR simulator and more on Oct. 19 and 20 — all in Downtown El Dorado. Gate admission is free for MSE’s portion of MusicFest, which will kick off at 5 p.m. on Oct. 19. MusicFest headliners were recently announced. They include Cardi B, Toby Keith, Sheila E., Gucci Mane, Morris Day and the Time, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic and Bret Michaels. Tickets for the concerts are on sale now at Cardi B pit tickets are sold out. Mayor Frank Hash noted that a couple of the MusicFest headlining acts, such as Cardi B, are geared toward teens and young adults. “These concerts won’t end until midnight, and if everyone stayed, they would be in violation of the curfew ordinance,” Hash said. Bob Tarren told the News-Times that MAD officials kept the ordinance in mind while planning this year’s festival lineup. “We wanted to make sure that people who attend MusicFest, especially the late-night shows, those who are 18 and 19, would not get in trouble if they’re walking out at 11 p.m. or midnight,” Tarren said. City Attorney Henry Kinslow said he asked MAD to submit more specifics for the request, including dates, times geographical locations, so he can present it to the city council for approval. The ordinance, which was enacted in June 1994, regulates the presence of children under 18 on city streets and in other public places. The ordinance also outlines the duties of parents and guardians in complying with the ordinance. Per the ordinance, children under 18 may not remain on city streets between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday — Thursday and between midnight and 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Cardi B and rapper Gucci Mane are scheduled to perform Oct. 19 (Friday) and Oct. 20 (Saturday), respectively. The term “street” was later expanded in the ordinance to include shopping centers, parking lots, parks, playgrounds, public buildings, common areas of public housing developments and similar areas that are open for use by the public. Exemptions may apply when the minor is:

• Accompanied by a parent or an adult who is at least 21 and is not the parent but is authorized by a parent to accompany the minor for a designated period of time, for a designated purpose and within a specified area.

• Exercising First Amendment rights that are protected by the U.S. Constitution, such as the free exercise of religion or freedom of speech. Written communication, detailing when, where and in what manner the juvenile will be on city streets at night, must first be filed with the El Dorado Police Department.

• Returning home from within one hour after the end of school or city-sponsored or religious — or other voluntary association — activities. Sponsors of such events must give prior notice to the EPD.

• Engaging in bonafide employment or traveling directly to and from the place of employment.

• In a motor vehicle for the purpose of interstate travel, proceeding through, beginning or ending in El Dorado. Parents may be fined up to $1,000 for each offense after the first warning is issued to a juvenile who violates the ordinance. A second violation for the juvenile constitutes a first offense for the parent, according to the ordinance. If a juvenile violates the ordinance more than three times, he or she will be reported to the Union County Juvenile Probation Office.

Parking request

In other business, the council did not take any action on a request for reserved parking spaces for a residential, downtown property, weeks after approving a similar request for a local business.

Following a brief discussion on July 19, no one answered Mayor Frank Hash’s call for a motion on a request by Larry Combs — former El Dorado mayor and city council member — for two reserved parking spaces at his residence, a converted commercial space, in the 300 block of East Main.

“He’s not operating a business there, but somehow he feels that he needs reserved, guest parking spaces,” Hash said.

On June 21, the council granted a request for three guest parking spaces at the Mason House, 311 N. Jackson, one of several lodging sites that is part of Union Square Guest Quarters.

Downtown developer and property/business owner Richard Mason asked for three designated parking spaces on the street in front of the business.

“There’s only one parking space, and that’s in the driveway,” Mason said on June 21, adding that guests often have to park a block or two away and carry luggage.

While considering Combs’s request on July 19, Council Member Billy Blann noted that he did not attend the June 21 council meeting and he inquired about the council’s reasoning for approving Mason’s request.

“This is going to come up again,” Blann said.

Council Member Dianne Hammond noted that Mason tried in vain to purchase and/or lease property in the surrounding area to designate for parking at the Mason House.

“He exhausted every avenue,” Hammond said.

“Plus, it’s not within the (controlled downtown) parking zone.” Council Member Mary McAdams added.

“We’re not faulting Mr. Combs for anything, but there are parking spaces behind his residence,” Hash said, referring to a parking lot on Cedar between Hill and Jackson.

Hammond noted that Combs leases the parking spaces behind his residence.

Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or by email at tlyons@ .