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Westmoreland Sheriff’s report

JUNE 16
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Punk fest generates discussion

Tri-State Punk Fest was June 7 Planning Commission topic

A neighbor’s complaint and last week’s report in these pages concerning the Tri-State Punk Fest allegedly held in the Leedstown woods generated considerable discussion when the Westmoreland Planning Commission met this Monday afternoon.
Commission Chairman John Felt introduced the topic with an observation that web postings promoting the May 21 through May 23 event had included language that described on-site camping accommodations.
Felt immediately suggested that overnight camping in the woods associated with that 4618 Leedstown Road address was a violation of the county’s zoning regulations. He asked Zoning Administrator Robert Fink to share his knowledge of what did or did not occur.
Fink said he believed there had been “a party at [Frank] Iannarelli’s.
“We received no complaint until the Tuesday after it allegedly happened,” he continued.
“I examined the site  [on June 4]. Mr. Iannarelli said it was not a paid event and that [the music] was not very loud. [He said] there were never more than 50 or 75 people on the property.”

Fink said the matter is still being investigated by his office.
When Felt asked if a permit should have been issued, Fink suggested that the kind of permit the county issues for fireworks events might have been appropriate, but that the requirement is waived when fewer than a hundred people are in attendance.
“At this point,” Fink commented, “it’s hard to know for sure how many people were on the property. I looked at the cleared area [in the woods] and it was not that large. Everything is still under investigation, so I can’t say anything conclusively about it.”
“What about the overnight camping?” questioned Felt.
“I haven’t looked at the camping issue yet,” Fink replied. “I don’t know who posted the posters [promoting overnight camping on Iannarelli’s land], but there was something going on. Music was involved and there were people on the site. [Mr. Iannarelli] described it as a friend that asked to use the property for a reception.”
Fink related that he had gone on the Internet and had initiated a Google search of Tri-State Punk Fest and had confirmed that Iannarelli’s Leedstown Road address was posted as the location of the event.
“I really haven’t done a thorough analysis,” he explained.
Planning Commissioner Richard Moncure joined the discussion with a question concerning letters a Leedstown Road neighbor reportedly received from the county government in April and May 2009 advising that the Board of Supervisors would not allow that neighbor to present concerns about land use activities on one or more of the adjacent Iannarelli’s properties due to a county government investigation of those activities.
Fink told Moncure the County Attorney had been tasked in April and May 2009 with looking into “whether Mr. Iannarelli was exceeding the terms of his approval” to host all terrain vehicle (ATV) events on a designated portion of the land he owns.
“Is that investigation still ongoing?” Moncure questioned.
“It was my determination that he needed a special exception permit because he never got a spe-cial exception permit, but the Board of Zoning Appeals determined that Mr. Iannarelli didn’t need a special exception [permit] for the ATV [activities],” Fink replied.
“There were other activities [alleged to have occurred on Iannarelli’s property] that would have to be individually reviewed,” Fink added. “People can have parties on their property. There’s a specific exclusion for wedding parties that draw particularly big crowds.”
“Then,” Commission Chairman Felt commented, “it would appear that this [Tri-State Punk Fest] would not rise to the necessary level and it would be impossible to prove it met the level of needing the special exception [permit].
“Since all of this is after the fact, I wouldn’t want to see the county having to devote its resources to an intensive investigation.”
Fink at that point made it known that Iannarelli is working with the Land Use Office to develop a new application that would authorize additional events.
“He wants to expand beyond the scope of ATV activities,” Fink stated. “The new permit process should be started soon, so all the parties involved will have the same expectations.”
“Do you see us being able to do that?” Moncure questioned with skepticism concerning a special exception permit whose bounds the property owner would enforce without generating a new set of complaints from Iannarelli’s neighbor.
“We’ll give it a try,” Fink told the Planning Commissioner.
When the public was invited to join the discussion, The Journal asked County Attorney Tom Bondurant to explain his role in the April and May 2009 investigation.
“Until the phone call came last Friday, I didn’t know anything about an investigation,” Bondurant began.
“Prior to the BZA ruling there was an investigation of whether or not a determination [of Iannarelli’s permitted land use activities] was needed.”
The discussion ended with the County Attorney’s brief response to the reporter’s question.

Betsy Ficklin

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