Stone House Park in rural southern DeKalb County was given the go-ahead to reopen the park at Wednesday night’s County Planning and Zoning Committee meeting under their old Special Use Permit. No use of structures is allowed, however, unless fully permitted including occupancy permits for the Stone House, barns and construction trailers on the property.
At a hearing in late 2011 the park was ordered to close temporarily due to unattended code violations. Owners Gregg Larson and Steve Cecchin stated that they had dealt with some of the issues already and agreed to get all of the Health Department’s concerns addressed.
Larson and Cecchin are requesting an amendment to their Special Use Permit. Changes proposed include a reduction in the number of cabins to be constructed, allowing for year-round use and storage of RVs and container trailers, and a revised construction schedule for use of existing structures on the subject property.
The most controversial of the changes proposed is to increase the capacity to 2,000 overnight and 4,000 daytime guests. Neighbors who spoke at the February 9th public hearing were mainly concerned about “curfew, capacity and control,” and complained that the large festivals last year brought a plethora of problems for the Rollo area.
The Planning and Zoning Committee discussed at length concerning hearing officer Klien’s recommendation of a maximum of 500 guests. Larson and Cecchin argued that number would not allow them to make the business work. Festivals last year at the park held 1,500 people and are expected to grow over the years.
Planning and Zoning Director, Paul Miller, instructed the committee that if they were considering the 4,000 number, the item should be brought back for another public hearing to let neighbors speak on the issue as well as other proposed changes to the conditions.
Other changes include a ‘quiet time’ at midnight as well as allowing the petitioner 120 days from issuance of the amended Special Use Permit to secure financing and allowing eight, large scale music festivals during the summer months, June 15th through September 15th.
The next available date for the Public Hearing is March 22nd, according to Paul Miller, with a Planning and Zoning meeting in April. This timeline would not allow the issue to come to the County Board for a vote until May 16th.
Larson reminded the committee that he still held a Special Use Permit and was complying with codes and asked to be allowed to reopen the park under his old permit. Miller and the committee agreed to let the park re-open as long as no use of specified structures take place until fully permitted.
Widows Peak is the next music festival advertised at Stone House Park. It is a weekend event to begin May 18.
Editors Note: Grace Mott was an owner of Stone House Park from 1990 -2000.