The Town of Vernon’s Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) gathered on the evening of February 18 to resume the public hearing for TicketNetwork Forest, an outdoor concert venue proposed by locally based software company TicketNetwork.
Thursday night’s hearing was supposed to feature a continuation of public testimony from a previous PZC meeting on February 4. However, the evening was prefaced with a legal briefing from Vernon Town Attorney Harold R. Cummings, who explained the need to observe due process throughout the course of the hearing, as outlined in state statute Sec. 8-7d.
According to Atty. Cummings, if the hearing were to extend too long without a final decision from the PZC, TicketNetwork’s application would be automatically approved. However, he went on to note that the state’s supreme court could ultimately overturn and reverse any decision made by the PZC if any violations of due process were perceived. He hoped his presence would help the town and all involved parties avoid such a situation.
Public testimony was further delayed due to a challenge to the TicketNetwork Forest application.
Attorney Robert J. Sitkowski, representing opposition group Vernon Citizens for Responsible Development, asserted that the on-going hearing was illegal and should be immediately ceased. He cited alleged errors in the TicketNetwork Forest application and published legal notices in his argument.
Though she defended the validity of her client’s application, Attorney Dorian Reiser Famigliette offered a revision to the venue plan that she hoped would ease the opposing residents’ concerns and help move the hearing process along.
The modifications would reduce the venue’s capacity from just under 2,000 people to exactly 1,390 people, both including an estimation of 50 venue staff members. As a result, parking for the venue was also reduced from 806 spots to 556, removing the need for any additional offsite parking.
As a result of those modifications to the application, consulting acoustical engineer Bennett Brooks, of Brooks Acoustics Corporation in Vernon, also attended the meeting with an update on the site’s projected sound levels.
Vernon itself does not have any noise ordinances in place, so sound tests were conducted according to guidelines set forth by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). In both the original and revised setups for Front of House sound equipment, TicketNetwork Forest surpasses the strictest standards set for residential and commercial zones, according to Brooks.
Because of the late challenge to the application and resulting timing constraints, a revised traffic simulation and assessment will be presented during the next PZC meeting on February 25. At that time, additional public testimony will also be added to the record.
The final PZC public hearing for TicketNetwork Forest is March 18. The deadline for the PZC’s decision is unknown.
TicketNetwork is the parent company of TicketNews.