On Thursday at the Board of Selectmen meeting, Frank Cortese, chair of the St. Roch Church Feast committee appeared via Zoom with the annual request for a road closure for the event nightly from 6:30 until 10:00pm from August 9-12.
The closure is for the block between the corner of Hamilton Avenue and Alexander Street.
Selectperson Stone McGuigan asked for a second read. First Selectman Camillo and Selectwoman Rabin did not object and anticipate a vote at their July 27 meeting, which they agreed to move from 10:00am until 7:00pm.
A second item concerning the Feast was a request for waiver of insurance for alcohol, but that was withdrawn.
Mr. Camillo explained that there had been an increase in “the ask” for coverage and that the town risk manager had explained the reason to Paul Cappiali, who had made the request.
“The town would like to err on the side of caution that they could take (alcohol) over there (to the school field). There hasn’t been any issues with that, but you always want to be safe,” Camillo said. “We’re fine with that. Everybody wants to make sure every possible scenario is covered. When there’s something new people are going to ask why.”
A third item was a request from Syl Pecora for a waiver of the permit requirement for the St. Roch’s annual procession which takes place the Sunday after the feast.
Mr. Camillo said, “My only concern was, originally that it came from the Parks Dept, but they don’t have anything to do with the roads. It would be the Dept of Public Works. It was confusing why. This procession has been done for 100 years.”
Mr. Pecora questioned why the Parks & Recreation Dept required the church to obtain a permit for the annual procession. He said the procession had been held annually since 1918.
“The St. Roch procession does not proceed through any park or recreational facility,” Pecora said. “The procession does proceed along the sidewalks and streets of the Town of Greenwich, and we have always notified, and will continue to notify the Dept of Public Works.”
Pecora said the church hires Greenwich Police to escort the procession.
“St. Roch’s has and will continue to seek all the appropriate insurance. I am curious to know what Parks & Recreation has to do with this?” he asked.
“That was my question,” Camillo said.
Parks & Recreation director Joe Siciliano explained that the Town streets were not within the Parks & Rec purview, but the procession was treated as any other special event, no different than a road run, bike race, or charity walk.
“It’s an event-based opportunity to use town property, which is a street,” Siciliano said. “They fill out the application. There is a routing slip that goes to GEMS and the Police Dept. They pay the application fee and they get the required insurance.”
He said as of Thursday morning the application had been submitted, the fee paid, and the insurance submitted, but the only detail holding up the permit was the date on the insurance was incorrect.
“My department notified Father McIntosh over at St. Roch Church that just the date on the insurance policy has to be changed and the permit will be issued,” Siciliano said.
He said the process for a special event permit was to come to Parks & Rec and the fill out an application and create a routing slip that goes to the related town departments whose approval is required including the Building Dept, GEMS and the Police Department, so they can weigh in or sign off.
“It’s more of an organizational thing versus territorial and who has control of the streets versus who doesn’t,” he said.
“Thank you for clarifying that,” Camillo said. “I should have known that.”
“I don’t know why this took up time on our Board of Selectmen agenda,” Rabin said. “It was probably a question and answer that could have happened separately. To do anything, it’s a special permit process facilitated by Parks & Recreation. It’s simple.”