Alamosa commissioners say no to concert venue

Proposed Little Bear concert/RV site. Courier photo by John Waters

ALAMOSA — The Alamosa County Board of Commissioners unanimously rejected the land use application of Justin Davis to open a concert venue on County Road 116 in rural Alamosa County at their meeting on March 8. The proposal from Davis included 15 campsites, and a stage and venue that could accommodate 300-400 concertgoers.

Previously, the county land use office recommended not to proceed with the application although it needed be decided upon by commissioners.

For over an hour, commissioners heard from residents, almost all of whom were opposed to the proposed music site.

Jonathan Lopez, who lives near the proposed venue, told commissioners, "I'm concerned about traffic, noise, and the safety of the neighborhood when you mix alcohol, legal or illegal drugs; after dark, we're going to have a lot of problems, and we are too far from town and far as the sheriff can get out there… this might be a good idea, but it is in the wrong place.”

Jackie Kennedy, who lives on County 5S near the site, offered, "It is three miles of gravel road between the highway and the proposed site, there is no turn lane, no lights, nothing out there, it is a dangerous intersection [160 and CR 116]…if we have an extra 300 people going to a concert it's going to be even worse.”

Nearby resident Douglas Scharnberg said, "The issue is the noise; there is absolutely no way Mr. Davis can obliviate the noise. We'll hear thump, thump, thump, four nights a week for 16 weeks…we'll hear a subwoofer. These are rock and roll bands. This is a man's rock and roll fantasy; is to come out to one of the quietest places left in existence in the United States, one of the darkest places, one of the most peaceful places, and have a rock and roll party."

Scharnberg added he has been a musician for 48 years, many of them in Terlingua, Texas, which is similar to the San Luis Valley in its remoteness, and proximity to a national park, and said this was not an appropriate location for music.

Paul Lemon, who vocalized his concerns about wildlife and other issues, said, "I'm very emotional. I'm trying to stop being very angry...this is just a stupid venue."

A resident new to the area, Amy Haslett, offered statistics related to concert attendees' use of alcohol and drugs and read a statement from her husband, who works in law enforcement, stating, "concert venues will bring various forms of crime and guarantee impaired drivers to our residential area. The proposed camping area will not provide enough areas to camp after these events, thus causing them to drive to their destination."

The commissioners agreed with the land use office and rejected the application unanimously.

After the decision to turn down his proposal, promoter Davis told the Valley Courier, "We're still processing…our standpoint is that it is a major setback. We have invested a lot of time and resources and, of course, had bought the property."

As for the future, Davis said, "I'm not sure exactly what direction we're going to proceed at this point."