Hudson fields: It is a property rights issue

October 2, 2017

This letter is in response to Christian Hudson's "confusion" as to why county officials are revisiting the ordinance to add new restrictions to special events on his family-owned and operated Hudson Fields on Route One. Mr. Hudson states, "I was shocked that anyone would raise an issue about 4,000 people for a concert when no one raised an eyebrow when we had 25,000 people for a Beach Boys concert and had Punkin Chunkin for three days each year."

Let me help alleviate Mr. Hudson's confusion. I am one of those "few" who complained about the Highway One concerts. I live directly across from Hudson Fields in the Covington Chase development of 54 homes. We are in the direct line of fire of the concert noise and traffic congestion. Covington Chase was developed in 2005. I moved here in 2006. Prior to the development of Covington Chase, I understand this was an open field used mainly for horse grazing. I'm sure the horses didn't mind the Beach Boys concert nor the Punkin Chunkin events when they took place in the 1980s. Mr. Hudson, look out your office windows and take note there are people now living across the road from you.

Behind Covington Chase is another development, Oyster Rocks and beyond Oyster Rocks is yet another development.

Since moving here, I am acquainted with the events that occur at Hudson Fields, the soccer matches, the loudspeakers at the soccer matches and the other events, at which music is often played. None of those activities bothered me. I accepted that as part of living in a community at which there are occasional community events. In fact, I rather enjoyed hearing the activity of folks enjoying themselves on a sunny, peaceful day. Even when the first Highway One concert took place, I was all right with that. I was a little concerned at how long it was, though, but again accepted that fact as the price of living in a community of folks with different activities.

Then there was the second concert. From the sound checks that began around two in the afternoon until the last "boom, boom, boom" emanating from the gigantic speakers at 10 p.m. at night, that was beginning to get annoying. Then the last concert, which again began around early afternoon and didn't end until way past dark, and this concert with frequent "F-bombs" being dropped by the singers, I thought, "What is happening to my neighborhood?" Is this the new Dewey Beach?

What Mr. Hudson is conveniently ignoring is that this area has changed. No longer does he have the horse grazing pasture across from his property, but instead there are people now living in those fields who purchased homes with the assumption they were going to live in a quiet neighborhood.

Then in the newspaper article Mr. Hudson makes several self-serving statements like: "It's a private family business operating as a parks and recreation open space on our dime.”

This statement is an oxymoron, if it's a family-owned business then how can it be a business if they are operating on their own dime? Mr. Hudson can't have it both ways. Either they are a business operating for profit or they or a charity. Which is it?

Mr. Hudson states, "We are only looking to do what we have done for more than 60 years and make it affordable to do it."

Mr. Hudson, here's a flash for you. The neighborhood has changed. No longer do you have open fields surrounding Hudson Fields. Now you have neighbors who deserve your respect and have a right to live in a peaceful neighborhood. Mr. Hudson also states "We've received overwhelmingly positive reviews. The community accepts and loves this. Why are a few trying to kill it?"

First of all, Mr. Hudson, how dare you speak for all the community? While there are many who are not bothered by the noise and congestion of the new Highway One concerts and enjoyed the concerts, I can assure you there are just about as many who are bothered by being assaulted by the unwanted noise and congestion and sometimes foul language of the hours long concert that was the Highway One Concert events this summer. I have talked to them. They are not happy with the concerts. Maybe they didn't express their concerns to you directly, but I can assure you they were not happy.

Mr. Hudson then again contradicts himself by stating: "The promoters will be forced to hold the shows elsewhere, outside the county. Sussex County will miss out on the large economic impacts, and the people will lose a massive local entertainment venue that has been around for decades."

Wait a minute? I thought Hudson Properties was being totally altruistic by "operating (Hudson Fields) as a parks and recreation space on their dime." Again, can't have it both ways, Mr. Hudson.

Then Mr. Hudson states, "I really have no idea why they are pursuing this new cap on our shows."


Again, let me remind Mr. Hudson they are reviewing the cap on your shows because "They are too loud and destroy the peace and tranquility of nearby neighborhoods."

Then Mr. Hudson makes the standard "We are willing to work" statement, but then follows it with "this is a property rights issue."

And in this I agree with Mr. Hudson, this is a property rights issue. I have the right on my one acre of property that is directly across from Hudson Fields not to be subjected to an unreasonable volume of sound for eight continuous hours.

Then Mr. Hudson claims that if he isn't allowed to continue with the Highway One Concerts "It looks like we might be put out of business." Not so, Mr. Hudson. You were in business before the Highway One Concerts; this was just additional business for you. A business you took on without any consideration that the area has changed. We are peaceful neighborhood directly across the road from you, Mr. Hudson. We would prefer to remain that way and not become Dewey Beach North.

Ronald Tipton



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