The Milwaukee County Board has approved a new ordinance that will require Niantic — and other companies like it — to get a permit before involving the county’s parks in their games. This means, as of this year, Pokemon GO monsters can only be located in Milwaukee public parks if the appropriate permit is acquired, settling what has thus far been a long and drawn out squabble between the city and the game’s maker.
The issue goes back months, with Milwaukee residents and officials alike describing Pokemon GO’s presence in its parks as a continual problem. Per past reports, the county felt that a private corporation — Niantic, in this case — had essentially set up an unauthorized event in Lake Park, in particular, said to be a major Pokemon GO hotspot in the midwest.
Officials cited many issues, including large crowds, gamers ignoring park rules like mandatory closing times, and even vendors taking roost at the park without a proper permit in order to cater to the massive crowds of players (sometimes amounting to several hundred people each day).
Handing out citations appeared to have little effect on the matter, and the city faced issues including insufficient toilets for everyone, large scale littering resulting in expensive cleanup efforts, and more. The city first tried to force Niantic’s hand by requiring it to get a geocache permit per Pokemon GO character located in the park. That move didn’t pan out, however.
A few months have since passed, and the city has officially implemented new regulations and rules that will stamp on this problem. The big win here seems to be that Milwaukee county officials will now be able to hold Niantic responsible, monetarily speaking, for any damages that result from crowds of gamers congregating in its parks.
It’ll also help ensure that characters aren’t placed on historic landmarks, which could be damaged, and will help shift the presence of characters to parks where there are more substantial facilities (read: toilets) to accommodate large crowds.
This all assumes, of course, that Milwaukee plans to give Niantic any permits at all after the alleged thousands of dollars in damage large Pokemon GO crowds caused last summer.
SOURCE: Milwaukee Sentinel Journal