Waynesville considers revised ordinance on street performers
If you want to twist balloons or play your flugelhorn on Waynesville's sidewalks, town fathers — and mother — may soon say, "Come on down!"
But read the rules first. Waynesville's governing board will consider an amendment to its street performer, or busker, ordinance at its regular meeting Tuesday, Aug. 27.
Municipalities must assure First Amendment rights of street performers while preventing unreasonable interference with residents' enjoyment of peace and quiet and the ability of businesses to operate and conduct their business. The result is a lot of rules.
Under the suggest ordinance revision proposal, potential performers must get a permit first. The town manager or his/her designee issues those. The permit won't let you stand closer than 50 feet to another performer unless you're in a group, and the group can't be more than three folks unless the town manager says so.
Nix ideas about playing your kazoo or pantomiming in front of the library, hospital or courthouse, and stay away from funeral homes and graveyards. Thinking about tacking your talents onto organized street festivals? Unless the event organizer says you can get closer, you must stay 100 feet away. If a private property owner invites you to pick in his potato patch, be sure you have his written permission "...on (your) person. Notwithstanding, street performers shall not conduct any performances on property used for any residential purposes."
Here's how street performances would be handled under the proposal, if adopted.
Times are specific. There's no staying at any one designated public area for a total of more than four hours during any one-day period unless the town or the Downtown Waynesville Association has a contract with you saying you can. If you leave your post for any reason, haul your stuff with you and stay away at least an hour.
Acoustic is the way to go. Without your own self-contained power supply, you're out of luck. You're not permitted to plug in. The good news is you can accept money, but you can't ask for it. Just unlatch your fiddle case and wait for the dough to roll in.
Those who hate sandwich board advertising signs are out of luck. Street performers can have one, 18 inches by 18 inches. But no speakers or microphones. Otherwise the town's noise ordinance may be violated.
Banjo players, if "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" is a challenge for you, take solace in the fact that you'll only have to play it once. According to the ordinance "...musicians may not repeat the same set within a single one-day period."
Of course inciting riots is out, as is the use of firearms, real or simulated. Ladies, if you can still twirl a fire baton, don't.
Those interested in weighing in on the matter can do so when the board meets at 7 p.m. in the Waynesville municipal building Aug. 27.