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The Daily Tar Heel

Police Propose Tighter Restrictions on Halloween Party

Chapel Hill Police Chief Gregg Jarvies submitted a proposal to the Chapel Hill Town Council on Monday requesting approval to divert all motor vehicle traffic within a one-mile radius of the downtown business area Oct. 31.

The proposal also would prohibit all public parking within the restricted area. Residents who live within the zone would be granted admittance by the police department only upon request.

"This event has grown to such an enormous size that we no longer have the resources to manage it safely," he said.

He also said the proposal does not intend to curb local participation but aims to discourage attendance of people from outside the Chapel Hill area.

"Part of being in this community is enjoying events such as this," Jarvies said. "Our hope is not to stop the celebration. It is to minimize it."

Last year's Halloween festivities drew more than 50,000 people to the area, and more than 200 police officers were on duty to regulate the event.

Jarvies said the Chapel Hill Police Department had to request additional police assistance from over 20 jurisdictions located throughout the state.

More than 150 officials from the town's transportation, public works and fire departments also were utilized last year.

Jarvies said the enormous number of people who attend the celebration often park illegally and leave behind an extensive amount of litter in local areas.

The costs to regulate and manage the festivities total more than $75,000. Jarvies said because Halloween will fall on a weekend night in two years, there could be an increase in participants and costs.

But some students, such as Stevie Threatt, a junior from Monroe, say the proposed restrictions will have little impact in curtailing the celebration.

"I don't think they should do that, but it won't prevent people from getting to the celebration," she said.

Jarvies said residents, students and local business owners will be notified of the changes if the council approves the proposal. "(There will be an) extremely comprehensive public information campaign using direct mail, meetings with the (Chapel Hill) Merchants Association, the town's Web page," he said. Council members will vote on the proposal at their next regular business meeting Oct. 10.

The City Editor can be reached at citydesk@unc.edu.

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