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Blacksburg changes requirements needed for social gathering permits

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Blacksburg Town Council has approved changes to their mass social gathering policy.

This will change the way people have to get permits for large parties, such as tailgates on Center Street.

“There are some requirements we clarified. You have to notify your neighbors and do things like that. A requirement that you let your property owner know what’s happening with the party,” said Blacksburg Town Attorney, Larry Spencer.

These changes come after years of complaints about overcrowding, as well as bad behavior during tailgates.

“I think this is long overdue and I applaud you for finally taking action. I have witnessed what has gone on over there over the last few years and it’s a disgrace, a vulgar disgrace,” said one Blacksburg resident who spoke at Tuesday night’s town council meeting.

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There were no students at the meeting as a majority are away for Summer break, but soon they’ll be returning to campus with new laws in place.

Blacksburg Chief of Police Todd Brewster said his department plans to meet with student organizations to help them understand what info is needed to register a party.

“If we can get the students to understand what the laws are and the ordinances of the town, then it makes it easier for them to come to us for the parties,” said Brewster.

A mass gathering permit is required for events with more than 200 people.

Registration also requires the host’s phone number, so police can get directly in contact with the organizer, which will free up more officers to help with patrolling on game days.

“It also allows us to not have to send an officer immediately then most of the situations can be handled by phone. So we can make contact with that person and explain to them, and most everybody is willing to work with us because they’re just wanting to have a good time,” said Chief Brewster.

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Town leaders said these updated permit requirements aren’t an effort to stop students from having fun, it’s to keep people safe.

Permit applications can be found on Blacksburg Police Department’s website.

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