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Nevada County approves controversial limits on outdoor events

Nevada County supervisors narrowly passed an ordinance Tuesday night placing new restrictions on weddings and other outdoor events, a move that business groups said would hurt the local economy.

Supervisors passed the measure with a 3-2 vote after five hours of debate and public comment. After it takes effect in December, property owners will need to go through an extensive permitting process with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office before they organize an outdoor commercial event, including weddings, concerts and parties, which have become hugely popular in the rural county in recent years. Additionally, properties would be limited to four events per year.

Proponents said the restrictions are necessary because such events had created traffic, noise and trash problems in residential areas.

“The residents have a right to live with the reasonable expectation of peace and privacy,” Nate Beason, chairman of the Nevada County Board of Supervisors, said last week.

Wedding-industry related business owners have decried the ordinance as a death sentence for their livelihoods. The Nevada City Chamber of Commerce estimates that the area’s wedding industry generates $40 million in economic activity annually.

“I’m disappointed they aren’t considering the economic impact,” Cathy Whittlesey, the chamber’s executive director, said Wednesday.

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