Columbia Leaders to Discuss Proposed Changes to Tent Permit Requirements

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COLUMBIA - Columbia's Community Development Department will hold an open meeting at City Hall on Tuesday night to discuss possible changes to the city's tent permit requirements.  The meeting comes less than a month after a tent collapse in St. Louis killed one and injured nearly 100 people.

In an email published on the city's web site, Columbia Fire Marshall Steven Sapp wrote that he would like to see Columbia enact stricter requirements for issuing tent permits.

"I must admit that I was focused on a small customer service aspect of tent permits and strayed away from the public safety side," Sapp wrote in the email.

Sapp wrote that he supports requiring a fire department inspection as soon as a tent is erected, since current building codes do not specify requirements for a tent to be properly anchored. But the fire marshall also stressed the importance of maintaining an efficient process.

"I feel pretty strong that we need to think about... [streamlining] the tent permit process to allow a permit within 24 to 48 hours," Sapp wrote.

The proposed changes to the permit process would only affect Columbia businesses, and would not apply to private events like backyard barbecues and tailgate parties.

Tuesday night's meeting will begin at 5 p.m. in room 1C at the Columbia City Hall.