ST. CHARLES COUNTY (KSDK) - Professional photographers in St. Charles County are worried about a special use permit that they're now required to have in county parks. They say the policy is too vague. However, county officials say they've made the policy more user friendly – by allowing professional photographers to use the permits on weekends as well. Initially, the policy only allowed the professional photographers to use county parks Monday through Thursday. Below details the amended policy:

Professional Photography Policy

Effective May, 2014 Visit www.stccparks.org or contact (636) 949-7535

Professional photographers seeking to take portraits, group photos, or conducting a photography project for profit shall apply for a Special Use Permit through the Parks Department. This permit helps to ensure the department is aware of the activity taking place within the parks, that the proposed date/time/location does not conflict with scheduled activities/events/operations, and that no harm is done to the landscape of the parks.

If a commercial enterprise involving more than a passive mode photo shoot, liability insurance listing St. Charles County Government as "additional insured" may be required. Insurance is never required for passive portrait portraiture.

Permits sessions for multi-party structured appointments are preferred on weekdays, Monday thru Thursday. Multi-party structured appointment permits may be refused on the weekends if scheduled Park events would be disrupted. All attempts will be made to respond to a request for a permit same day. This policy does NOT prohibit a photographer accompanying an individual wedding party or individual client in the parks for photographs even on the weekends. No furniture or large "prop" amenities allowed.

No Special Use Permit may be issued if the St. Charles County Parks Department determines there is a likelihood of resource damage, that there would be an unreasonable disruption of the public's use and enjoyment of the site, or that the activity poses health or safety risks to the public.

Professional photographers must comply with all generally applicable Ordinances of St. Charles County, Missouri including, but not limited to, Sections 250.080 and 250.100.

Park Rangers may make the final determination on site if a photography endeavor is creating an unsafe situation, causing damage to the Park, or otherwise violating the terms of this policy or County Ordinances. If told to cease the photography activity, an individual may be issued a citation if he or she does not cooperate.

Individuals found to be doing commercial work without the appropriate permit will be given a warning, and given information to obtain the necessary permission for future photographic sessions. Failure to obtain a permit for future commercial work in the parks may result in a citation.

A Special Use Permit process is not required for individuals using the County Parks and taking personal photos of family picnics, scenery, or wildlife or for privately hired photographers affiliated with private parties who have rental event space (i.e. Lodge, Conference Center, Group Area).

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