San Mateo may open up some of its parks for overnight events as both Shelter Network and the American Cancer Society have requested to hold fundraising events during hours when the parks are normally closed.
Municipal code mandates that it is illegal to enter, use, cross or remain in any park property or facility between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Currently, the city does not allow the Parks and Recreation Department to issue a permit to a private group for an outdoor activity after 10 p.m. in city-owned parks.
Two nonprofits have recently requested the use of the parks overnight, however, and the Parks and Recreation Commission discussed the item for the first time last night.
The first request from Shelter Network was to raise awareness on the issues of homelessness and the second from the American Cancer Society was for its annual Relay for Life fundraiser, which includes a 24-hour walking relay that includes an overnight camping component, according to a staff report.
The commission discussed last night whether it would be in favor of allowing overnight special events in city parks and what conditions might be associated with the events.
Potential conditions discussed were limiting overnight events to park locations that can provide: controlled access and boundaries for the event; proximity of neighbors to the event; a limit on the number of events held each year; limiting the events to nonprofit agencies; added security; noticing to nearby residents; light standards; and limiting the types of activities permitted at the events.
Costs to the city incurred beyond the permit process for the event itself would be reimbursed by the permit applicant, according to the staff report.
The commission provided feedback to the Parks and Recreation Department last night and a vote on the item will be made at a future date if the idea moves forward.