Support tonight for this issue was overwhelming. I had to post a picture. This photo was taken BEFORE they had to open a wall and bring in more chairs for all of the attendees! From my count, there were more than 50 people who came out to support the issue of overturning photography fees and the permit process required for family photography in Fairfax County Public Parks.
There were people from all walks of life who came to share how this fee and permit process affects them. I cannot thank you enough for rallying and creating what I was told by Park Authority employee John Berlin, was by far the LARGEST attendance they have ever had at a community forum.
62 letters were submitted with the petition asking for the photography fees and permit requirements to be revoked.
Within 3 days, the Park Authority’s ratings on their Facebook page went from 4.3 to 1.7, a massive public outcry to change Park policy regarding photography fees and permits.
A 17 page Petition was submitted to the Park Authority and to the Board showing evidence that this fee structure and permit process is discriminatory towards photographers and that the research supporting the fees in 2010 and 2014 was flawed.
There is movement on this issue. The Director of the Park Authority, Kirk Kincannon says things need to change. He said he was unaware that the permit process was so daunting for photographers. Kincannon believes with the technology that is in place, there is an easier way to manage this process.
Consensus among Park Staff and the Board seemed to be that the fees were to high. Talk of a lanyard with a Park pass on the end was mentioned by Kincannon as a possible solution for the yearly pass. Something visible that the photographer can wear and therefor be left alone by park staff.
Fairfax County Park Authority Board, Ed Batten said that he came to the meeting wanting to hate me, but left loving the passion that I have for this issue.
I thank the Park Staff and the Board for their time tonight. There were 27 people who spoke on this issue according to Tony Vellucci, Braddock District Board Member. That’s a lot of listening and a lot of concerned county residents and small businesses.
Although we do not yet have a solution, we have educated and finally been heard. We will be eagerly anticipating an appropriate response from the Park Authority Board regarding this important issue.