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Unpermitted punk rock fest leaves neighbor discontent

The Journal missed what web postings suggest may have been the biggest event of the year in rural Westmoreland County. The annual Tri-State Punk Fest apparently came to 4618 Leedstown Road and as many as 27 punk rock bands delivered three days of live music performances in what a neighbor thinks was a clearing Northern Neck ATV Park operator and owner Frank Iannarelli created in a wooded area near the mud-bog tracks.

G.W. Fisher said the music rattled his family’s china right off the cupboard shelves and was louder and bigger than the previously held live music event. He said the lyrics were filled with the worst kinds of obscenities and were offensive to his own Christian standards.

Fisher provided what became the basis of a rather interesting and extended Internet web search. The postings appeared to be completely consistent with the neighbor’s assertions. Something big happened in the woods off Leedstown Road.

Some of the web postings have since been removed but new postings have been added. It’s not too late to listen to the posted tunes, view pictures of the bands and even the festival attendees enjoying what appeared to be a great time in the woods.

Some of the web postings promoting the 2010 Tri-State Punk Fest included a map with directions to the property at 4618 Leedstown Road. Promotional materials advised pro-spective attendees to look for signage along the road noting the location of a specified couple’s wedding party — Sid and Nancy’s.

Fisher suggested the festival was in violation of county ordinance, and the appropriate special events permit was not obtained. That assertion was confirmed by the Westmoreland County Zoning Administrator this Tuesday morning.

By then, Zoning Administrator Robert Fink had received a call from the Northern Neck ATV Park neighbor and had been in contact with Iannarelli.

“He denies having [the Tri-State Punk Fest],” Fink said. “He said he had friends over and that he will come in this week.”

Fisher had shared information about the Tri-State Punk Fest web postings, but Fink had not reviewed the information they contained on Tuesday morning.

Fisher said he stopped complaining about what was happening on the adjacent property because he was told the County Attorney was investigating the mud-bog operator’s land use activities.

On June 1 Fink and County Administrator Norm Risavi professed no knowledge that the County Attorney was actively investigating the land use activities at 4618 Leedstown Road. During 2009 the county attempted to take enforcement action but the Board of Zoning Appeals determined that the establishment’s mud-bog activities required no additional special use permit.

Even so, Fisher asserts the property at 4618 Leedstown Road is restricted to conducting only three all-terrain vehicle permits per month and the activity can only occur on a specified 15 acres of Iannarelli’s land.

Other restrictions the unhappy neighbor noted are a prohibition against the use of alcohol and camping.

According to the web postings and Fisher, Tri-State Punk Fest promotional fliers advised prospective festival attendees to bring their own booze and come prepared to camp on the festival premises. The event was open to all ages and a $10 donation was needed to cover music, camping and parking for the weekend.

“The investigation is still open,” Fink said when questioned by The Journal about his of-fice’s efforts to establish if a violation had occurred between May 21 and May 23 in the Leedstown woods.

Fink also said he expected to interview Iannarelli concerning other plans the mud-bog operator may have for that property. A new land use application would be filed after the interview and would become the subject of a new generation of public hearings.

The mud-bog neighbor championed that activity when it was initially proposed three years ago. After-the-fact experience changed the Fisher’s mind and a written objection was sent to the county government.

“[The mud-bog operator] seems to be given an inch and now has taken a mile,” Fisher advised the local government officials on July 22, 2007.

The same neighbor said the operations have become increasingly objectionable with the passage of time. He expressed disappointment that the Sheriff’s Office purports to have no enforcement jurisdiction and his faith in county government’s willingness to enforce its land use ordinances reached an all-time low on the weekend of the Tri-State Punk Fest at the 4618 Leedstown Road address.

Mature readers are encouraged to launch a web search of the Tri-State Punk Fest — some content includes potentially offensive images and lyrics. Postings make it clear something happened in the Leedstown woods between May 21 and May 23.

Betsy Ficklin

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