Ver­non de­nies con­cert per­mit

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Front Page -

VER­NON, N.Y. (AP) >> Woodstock 50 pro­mot­ers say they’re ap­peal­ing after be­ing de­nied a lo­cal per­mit to stage the fes­ti­val at an up­state New York horse track.

The town of Ver­non ruled Tues­day that the ap­pli­ca­tion to stage the fes­ti­val at the Ver­non Downs track and casino was too late and in­com­plete. Ver­non Downs emerged as a pos­si­ble site for the Aug. 16-18 an­niver­sary fes­ti­val after the orig­i­nal venue, Watkins Glen In­ter­na­tional, pulled out last month.

Woodstock 50 or­ga­niz­ers said in an email Tues­day night that they re­main hope­ful they can pre­vail through their ap­peal and reap­pli­ca­tion process. They de­nied that the ap­pli­ca­tion was in­com­plete and said they be­lieve un­spec­i­fied “po

lit­i­cal forces” were work­ing against the fes­ti­val.

Or­ga­niz­ers can ap­peal the per­mit de­nial to the town’s plan­ning board within five days, Ver­non town at­tor­ney Vin­cent Rossi said Tues­day. Or­ga­niz­ers did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

The de­nial came a day after op­po­nents of the three-day fes­ti­val packed a Ver­non town board meet­ing Mon­day night, voic­ing con­cerns about safety and traf­fic in the ru­ral area. Oneida County Sher­iff Rob Ma­ciol told the crowd it would be im­pos­si­ble to en­sure pub­lic safety on such short no­tice.

The Ver­non Downs race­track and casino emerged as a pos­si­ble site for the Aug. 16-18 an­niver­sary fes­ti­val after the orig­i­nal venue, Watkins Glen In­ter­na­tional, pulled out last month.

A fes­ti­val at Ver­non Downs could host up to 65,000 peo­ple, as op­posed to the 150,000 planned for Watkins Glen, and it would not fea­ture camp­ing.

Be­fore the per­mit de­nial was an­nounced, Woodstock 50 pres­i­dent Greg Peck said Tues­day that the group is work­ing with law en­force­ment and pub­lic safety of­fi­cials to ad­dress con­cerns.

“We are confident that this care­ful plan­ning and con­sid­er­a­tion of com­mu­nity con­cerns will re­sult in a safe, world-class fes­ti­val,” Peck said in a pre­pared re­lease.

The fes­ti­val has faced other set­backs, in­clud­ing the losses of a fi­nan­cial part­ner and a pro­duc­tion com­pany.

State health of­fi­cials said last month they had re­ceived a mass gath­er­ing per­mit ap­pli­ca­tion for the fes­ti­val. But they said Tues­day that type of per­mit was not re­quired since there will be no camp­ing.

The fes­ti­val still needs to en­sure it meets pub­lic health re­quire­ments for pub­lic gath­er­ings of more than 5,000 peo­ple and­must ob­tain a per­mit.

New York health of­fi­cials say they are eval­u­at­ing in­for­ma­tion sub­mit­ted by Woodstock 50 in col­lab­o­ra­tion with lo­cal of­fi­cials.

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