Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Farm closed to Deadhead camping in Alpine

From Journal Sentinal:

Tent sites at stake
Town denies permit for concert camping on farm
Special to the Journal Sentinel

Town of Waterford - The Town Plan Commission has denied Hoppe Homestead Farm owner Carol Hoppe's request to allow campers on her property for six special events this summer, stating that the farm's best use is for farming.

For years, Hoppe has opened her family farm to music fans in need of a place to camp - and party - after concerts at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in nearby East Troy and more recently for Milwaukee's Summerfest.

Hoppe wants to place 20 campsites per acre on the 12-acre property, which would be 240 campsites. Under a state ordinance, she's allowed 20 campsites per acre, but under town ordinance, only two campsites per acre.

The battle over camping is turning into a regular summertime spat.

In the summer of 2002, state inspectors pulled Hoppe's temporary camping permit when close to 1,000 Grateful Dead fans arrived after a show - more campers than the permit allowed. The show was by the Grateful Dead's core members, who were performing under the name The Other Ones.

In 2003, Hoppe was denied a permit.

She was in hot water again last year when she allowed 150 campers on her property after a Phish show and said they were friends and family. As a result, she had to pay more than $1,000 in fines.

In 2005, Hoppe filed suit against the county, but it was later dismissed.

But the county had also said it would be willing to review a permit for Hoppe if the town had no objections.

The town, however, has refused. A plan governing development in the town through 2010 says that Hoppe's farm should be used only for agricultural purposes.

Town officials are not optimistic that Hoppe would be able to provide the proper water supplies and bathrooms for camping and last week recommended that she apply for a variance through the town.

"Besides the normal legalities, traffic, noise and debris have been a problem in the past with respect to her having campers," Town Chairman Bob Langmesser said.

The town had also asked Hoppe to collect at least 60 signatures from surrounding residents who are in favor of letting her have campers on her property.

"We're not trying to deprive her of running a business out there. It's just that she needs to have the proper facilities," Langmesser said. "The county and state have a lot of restrictions themselves."

Hoppe said, however, that things are moving in the right direction and that a solution still may be found.


Anonymous Helen said...

Too bad but officials cannot understand the concept that perhaps to her they really are "friends and family". Thanks for the news. (as always!)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006  

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