Concert or soap opera?

07/29/2010 12:00 AM |

As with most major disputes in Southold, the tussle between the town and the promoters of this weekend’s North Fork Rock and Folk Fest has found its way to court.

The promoters, former supervisor Josh Horton and Peconic Bay Winery, which is to host the event, have asked the state Supreme Court to throw out the town’s revised set of event conditions, including a 400-vehicle parking limit and ending the concert an hour early, at 6 p.m.

The promoters say the supervisor and Town Board lack the authority to amend the permits issued by the Zoning Board of Appeals, which did not include those conditions. Meanwhile, the town counters that the information presented to the ZBA grossly underestimated the concert’s size and potential impacts.

Both sides were in state Supreme Court in Riverhead for an initial appearance Tuesday and are to return for a hearing this morning (Thursday).

The case seems to boil down to this: Do the supervisor and Town Board have the legal authority to, in essence, overrule the ZBA, a semi-judicial panel? Does concern for public safety — an issue that became acute when evidence emerged that the permit application may have been less than truthful in describing the event’s size — compel the town to impose those added restrictions?

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