Festival venue on Sussex agenda

Highway One's Pires has plans for outdoor concerts on 500-acre site
May 13, 2014

Story Location:
Harbeson  Delaware
United States

A well-known promoter has plans to turn Sussex County farmland into a venue for festivals and concerts.

Alex Pires, of Cool Spring LLC, c/o Highway One Limited Partnership in Dewey Beach, has filed an application with Sussex County Council for a conditional use for an outdoor entertainment facility with temporary camping facilities on 500 acres of AR-1, agricultural-residential, land. The parcel contains both farmland and wooded sections.

Pires signed an agreement April 14 with M&M Farms LLC to lease the property for no more than five festivals, concerts, fundraising events or competitions per year. The lease forbids racing-type events or other activities involving vehicles.

The terms of the lease would allow two events up to four days long and three additional events lasting one day, not counting set-up and break-down time.

The parcel would be left untouched except during the times of events, and there will be no permanent structures. The lease allows temporary structures such as tents and stages.

Council is expected to introduce the zoning ordinance at its Tuesday, May 13 meeting. The parcel is located in a rural area south of Harbeson between routes 5 and 30 and north of Avalon Road, east of Lawson Road, south of Johnson Road and west of Hollyville Road.

Once the ordinance is introduced, the county's planning and zoning office will schedule public hearings with the planning and zoning commission and county council. The application was filed April 24 by Cool Spring LLC/Highway One.

For perspective, the Firefly Music Festival at The Woodlands at Dover International Speedway takes place on a 105-acre parcel. Woodstock – perhaps the most famous one-time music festival in the United States – took place in 1969 in Bethel, N.Y., on a 600-acre dairy farm.

Pires, a lawyer and Vietnam War veteran, is one of the founders of Community Bank of Delaware and as general partner of Highway One Limited Partnerships, owns music venues, bars, restaurants and hotels in southern Delaware. He also co-wrote, produced and directed the film “Mayor Cupcake” and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2012.

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