The ordinance was last updated in 2007, according to a presentation at the Oct. 4 City Council meeting by Chris McGinn, director of Neighborhood and Inspection Services, and James Kunke, community relations and tourism director. A vote on the proposed changes will be considered at a future council meeting.
Among the proposed changes are establishing four entertainment districts: Old Town Entertainment District, Mall District, Castle Hills Community District and Bill Weaver Arena.
Special events inside these districts would not be subject to the current cap of two special events per year and 180 days between such events, according to the presentation.
“We have a proposal to waive the application fee for special events in these four zones. We don’t want that to be a hindrance for the applicant,” McGinn said. “We also have a proposal for decreased police and fire costs in the [Old Town Entertainment District]. We’re really wanting to promote events here. It [the costs and fees] have definitely been a hindrance in the past.”
Another proposed change is that areas outside of the four districts would no longer have to wait 180 days between special events. That gap would be cut to 90 days. However, areas outside the four zones would still be limited to two special events per year.
Some boundary changes to the Old Town Entertainment District are also proposed. Some single-family properties would be taken out of the zone, and some entertainment businesses, such as Bendt Distilling, would be added.
Boundaries would also be extended south to include an undeveloped area between Mill Street and Kealy Avenue.
“That area is probably a great target for redevelopment,” Kunke said. “We don’t know what it’s going to be, but it can always be cut out of the zone later if council decides it’s not appropriate.”
The goal for these proposed changes is simple, the men said.
“We want to encourage public events put on in Old Town by private entities. We want as many events downtown as we can do,” Kunke said. “We’re pretty maxed out on our calendar with community events we can do ourselves, so if we can encourage them, we will. "[We're] trying to encourage more public events put on by private organizations that don’t require city sponsorship or city staff but can still help build Old Town into a great entertainment site.”
The Mall District, meanwhile, is currently limited to two special events per year at Music City Mall Lewisville with 180 days between events. Creating a Mall District would eliminate those restrictions and allow that area to attract more and larger special events, according to the presentation.
With the city of Lewisville officially annexing Castle Hills on Nov. 15, the proposal includes creating a Castle Hills Community District as well.
“One concern we heard from Castle Hills residents during the annexation committee was they wanted to make sure their current events are protected,” Kunke said. “The ordinance, as it is drafted now, would make some of these events illegal.”
The fourth proposed zone is at the Bill Weaver Arena, which recently hosted a Professional Bull Riding event. City officials are looking to rent the facility to outside groups.
“We’re currently starting discussions on a rental policy and fees for this facility,” Kunke said. “The city would still bring in a couple events a year like PBR, a full rodeo. We’ve talked about Juneteenth with Cowboys of Color, and we also have the Fiesta Charra. The high school rodeo club wants to have some practices there.”
Kunke said the city has been contacted by some larger groups looking to use the facility.
“Having it as an event zone gives the flexibility that if there’s a group that wants to have a horse show every weekend, this change would allow them to do that,” he said.