It's almost time for the annual running of the chairs.
As July 4 approaches, people in the City of Warren looking to lock in good spots to watch the parade may be tempted to plunk down lawn chairs, bag chairs, bar stools, folding chairs, wooden benches, blankets, or some combination of those along the parade route.
Chairs out for last year’s parade
The city has placed a moratorium on early chairs until July 1.
That decision is backed up by city law.
According to Resolution 2894, "While the City recognizes that early placement of spectator seating along the Fourth of July parade route is a long-standing tradition, the duration of such placement in recent years has posed significant public safety and maintenance concerns."
Those concerns, enumerated in the resolution, include:
"Chairs placed at the curb line make it difficult, if not impossible, for passengers to safely exit from the passenger side of parked cars. This is of particular concern for individuals with physical challenges and for those who have young children exiting the vehicle.
"The various types of seating and the means used to cordon off areas present obstacles and safety concerns for emergency services which may be required to respond to an area.
"Unsecured chairs pose a safety issue in the event of high wind/storm situations.
"The City's mowing contractor is faced with either expending excess time in attempting to move chairs, benches, etc. in order to complete the mowing or not mowing the area involved. "
In response to those concerns, the rules are clear.
"No type of seating including, but not limited to, chairs, benches, and blankets shall be placed upon any sidewalk, public right-of-way, or City property adjacent to a parade route in excess of seventy-two hours prior to a parade.
"All seating is to be removed from the parade route no later than 9 p.m. on the parade date.
"The placement of cones or other objects, cordoning, or otherwise marking by any means any sidewalk, public right-of-way, or City property adjacent to a parade route for purposes of reserving a parade viewing area is prohibited.
"Any object placed in violation of this resolution may be removed by City of Warren personnel and may be considered surplus property of the City to be disposed of in accord with applicable City policies and regulations."
The rules were in effect in 2013 and worked well, according to City Administrator Mary Ann Nau.
"All in all last year most people cooperated with the new regulation and DPW had relatively little problems with chairs blocking their ability to mow and maintain public areas," Nau said. "I would say it was a success and we are hoping for the same this year. I was also told that the city did not receive calls like it had in the past that people were damaging their cars trying to open their doors when exiting vehicles."
She said city officials would like to "thank everyone for observing the new regulation."