Montgomery County to Study Permitting for Mass Gatherings

AquaPalooza 1

There were about 500 boats and 2000 people at AquaPalooza Lake Conroe at the Palms Marina

AquaPalooza on Lake Conroe at the Palms Marina has the Montgomery County Commissioners Court considering a study on a permitting system for mass gatherings in unincorporated areas of the county.

The AquaPalooza event July 31 attracted about 500 boats and about 2000 people as I estimated in a prior article at

The following is from an article by Beth Kuhles and can be read in it’s entirity at

Part of the article is below:

“I want to make sure that promoters are responsible for increased safety and not the taxpayers,” said Montgomery County Judge Alan B. Sadler. “We don’t want unnecessary government intervention in events, unless it is absolutely, critically necessary.”

Montgomery County Commissioners Court approved a committee to study a permit system for large gatherings in the county. This would include events with more than 2,500 people, gatherings of more than 500 people where alcohol is served and more than 51 percent of attendees are younger than 21 years old; events held for more than five hours; or those held between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., said Assistant County Attorney Phyllis Rainey.

Sadler said he would like to exclude ongoing events from the permitting process, including the MS 150 bike race, high school football games and church services.

Under Chapter 751 of the Texas Health and Safety Codes, the permit process could include an application that requires promoters to address safety, health and sanitation, medical care and supervision of minors at the event. It also could require inspections by the Fire Marshal’s Office, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the county health department before and during the event.

Any violation of the plan could be subject to misdemeanor violations, which are subject to fines of up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail.

Rainey said that at least 10 counties in the state have adopted mass gathering laws with permit fees.

Commissioner Ed Chance of Precinct 3 asked if the permits could include traffic management plans, and Rainey said there is a provision to do so.

Commissioner Mike Meador of Precinct 1 said the permit process should include bicycle races because they tie up local roads with traffic.

The committee that will study the issue includes Montgomery County Fire Marshal Jimmy Williams, Chief Randy McDaniel of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the Montgomery County Health Department, which could include the Montgomery County Hospital District, environment or public facilities.

“I can understand their concern,” said Pillsbury. “Everyone said they were very pleased with the turnout.”

Pillsbury said the event worked with local public safety officials, had a barge with restrooms and a local restaurant served food.

Texas Health and Safety – Mass Gatherings

A state law allows counties to require permits for mass gatherings. Following is the state law governing this area.
• Applies to gathering of more than 2,500 people or 500 people where alcohol is served and 51 percent of the audience is under 21; where the event is five hours or longer; or when it is held between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.
• Applications must be filed within 45 days of event, with plans to address public safety, traffic control, health and sanitation, medical care and supervision of minors.
• Inspections can be done before and during the event by fire, police and public health agencies
• Violations are misdemeanors subject to fines of up to $1,000 or up to 90 days jail.

Source Chapter 751 Texas Health and Safety Code


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