NoFo Rock and Folk Festival promoters sue town over new restrictions

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07/27/2010 12:00 AM |

The partners behind the upcoming NoFo Rock and Folk Festival in Cutchogue are seeking a court order to prevent Southold Town from placing new restrictions on the event, including a limit to on-site parking.
The town and the promoters were scheduled to appear in State Supreme Court in Riverhead Tuesday afternoon on the promoters’ request for a temporary restraining order to bar the town from
amending the public assembly permit issued in June by Southold’s Zoning Board of Appeals.
Former supervisor Josh Horton, who with Peconic Bay Winery are staging the two-day event this coming Saturday and Sunday, said the Town Board overstepped its authority in seeking to impose 21 new conditions, including limiting the number of vendors to 25 and cutting off the music at 6 p.m., an hour earlier than advertised.
Referring to the Town Board, Mr. Horton said, “a legislative body does not have any legal authority whatsoever to amend a decision or permit issued by a zoning board of appeals.”
The town argues that the promoters were less than honest in describing the event’s size and scope. The permit application showed four vendors and estimated a crowd of about 800 per day.
But a letter sent to prospective vendors said the crowd is expected to be “well over 15,000.” During a recent appearance before the Town Board, which had considered revoking the permit, Mr. Horton called that letter a “clerical error.”
The promoters also object to the town’s demand for payment of about $6,500 to cover police overtime costs, an amount they call excessive.
Supervisor Scott Russell said the town is simply trying to ensure public safety.
“We’re trying to have the event and at the same time safeguard the community from unwanted effects,” he said. “People aren’t the issue. It’s the cars and traffic that present the problems.”
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