Pires withdraws plan for music festival

Instead of voting on plan, Sussex Council OKs
August 19, 2014

Dewey Beach businessman Alex Pires has withdrawn his plan for a music festival in Sussex County.

On the same day Sussex County Council was expected to vote to deny or approve Pires' controversial music venue application, council instead allowed the applicant to withdraw the application.

Pires, representing Cool Spring LLC/Highway One, had plans to stage back-to-back country music concerts on part of the Baker farm in August 2015.

In an Aug. 18 letter to Sussex County Council, a lawyer for Pires asked Sussex County Council to withdraw the conditional-use application for a music venue on 500 acres of farmland near Harbeson.

With little discussion, council voted 4-1 on Aug. 19 to allow the project to be withdrawn.  Had the project been denied, Pires would have had to wait a year before it could be brought up again.

Councilwoman Joan Deaver, D-Rehoboth Beach, cast the lone vote against the request.

Pires' attorney, Steven Spence, said in the letter, “It is apparent that, when this application was first filed, there was some initial misunderstanding on my client's part as to the mandatory requirement for presentation of a preliminary site plan.

Spence said initially Pires believed aerial maps and surveys submitted as part of the public record were sufficient to allow the application to proceed because no permanent site work or improvements were planned for the parcel.

“My client has taken note of the many concerns of the surrounding property owners and other interested parties and the concerns of the commission that there was insufficient detail in the submitted exhibits to make an informed recommendation as to this temporary use,” Spence wrote.

By a 4-1 vote, Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that county council deny the application. One of the main reasons for the vote was the lack of a detailed preliminary site plan.

Spence said his client would prefer the county judge “the unique type of conditional use” on its merits.