The debate over a planned outdoor concert venue in Vernon, CT, ended decisively on March 11 when town commissions voted against the proposal. TicketNetwork had sought special permits to open a 1,390-capacity, seasonal venue on commercially zoned land owned by the ticket software company.
A motion to deny Application PZC-2009-26 came less than an hour into the Thursday meeting and passed, 6-1. Earlier in the night’s deliberation, the commission ruled that the venue would not be a proper use of the land, with a majority vote of 5-2.
For weeks, members of the opposition group Vernon Citizens for Responsible Development flooded the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission meetings to voice concerns about the project. At least four PZC meetings were dedicated to public testimony over the course of February and early March, and public discussion on the application concluded with a March 4 rebuttal by TicketNetwork.
Dubbed the TicketNetwork Forest, the open-air venue would have hosted 20 days of concerts per year, according to its permit application. However, in the end, commissioners felt that the impact would extend well beyond the night of each event and be a nuisance to neighboring properties.
“It’s not going to be 20 days of concerts; it’s going to be 20 weekends of concerts,” Commissioner Francis Kaplan said of the proposed May-to-October event schedule on Thursday night.
He added that the main problem wasn’t the proposal itself, but the venue site’s heavily residential surroundings. “It’s a nice idea, it’s a good idea,” Kaplan concluded, “it’s just in a bad neighborhood.”
At the end of the evening, opponents of the venue gave the PZC a standing ovation, as several television news crews were on hand to document the night’s proceedings.
“I’m thrilled that the town did the right thing, for all the right reasons,” Vernon resident Karen Wassell told FOX 61 News.
However, TicketNetwork CEO Don Vaccaro said the decision was disappointing. While the company has not yet announced whether it plans to appeal the PZC’s decision, Vaccaro did discuss other options with area reporters at the end of the March 11 meeting.
“It’s going to be very hard to expand our corporate presence in the town, which may mean relocating some of our future expansion to other towns,” TicketNetwork CEO Don Vaccaro told the local FOX News reporter, adding, “We welcome solicitations from them now to do that.”
TicketNetwork is the parent company of TicketNews.
Watch the March 11 report from Fox 61 below.