A plan to hold a charitable drive-in movie event in Sudbury is stalled for now.

Organizers had hoped to hold the event on the rooftop parking lot of the Rainbow Center mall in the city’s downtown, but have since learned there's currently no area in the city zoned for a drive-in movie, which creates a challenge.

Kelsey Cutinello said she was frustrated to find out a zoning issue was preventing the drive-in from going ahead.

"Everybody wants people to stay in the city and do exciting things and try new stuff," she said. "But every time a new idea is proposed, nobody likes change and it gets shut down."

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Guido Mazza is Sudbury's chief building inspector. (Supplied)

But the city said the wheels in the plan should have been rolling a lot earlier.

Get a head start

Greater Sudbury building manager Guido Mazza noted the event "required a special zoning and that's a three-to-four month public process. That was a major hurdle in us trying to get this event going."

Mazza said the zoning rules are there to keep attendees and people in the neighbourhood safe, but they can be flexible.

He noted the building department only heard from Cutinello earlier this month — and that organizers should give the city about six months for events like this.

Mazza said he's still hopeful the drive-in event can go forward in the future.

The drive-in theatre event was supposed to be held this Saturday, and money from the concession sales was to be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Mazza remarked that getting a head start on city approval is key for any event organizer.

"The process is there," he said.

"For the most part the promotional businesses in the city are aware of it, it's just a matter of coming into speak to us and then we'll set the ball in motion to facilitate the event in occurring."

And just because an event is on private property, that doesn't mean it's exempt from city zoning rules, he added.