Photo from the Regqe on the River website.
Reggae on the River is free to go forward again. An appeal by the Cook’s Valley Patriot Station business owner, Zack Bowman, had requested the Humboldt Co. Supervisor’s review the Humboldt County’s Planning Commission’s approval of the long time festival being returned to its traditional home across the street from his business at French’s Camp. Today, the Supervisor’s denied his appeal.
Supervisor Mark Lovelace stated today on his Facebook page,
The points raised in the appeal were fundamentally a private dispute between the Mateel Community Center and a neighboring business, and the appellant presented no evidence to suggest that the Planning Commission’s approval was in any way improper. We cannot mandate as conditions of approval that two neighbors have to get along. The appeal process is an inappropriate forum for trying to resolve this kind of dispute.
Conflict over this year’s Reggae on the River being held once again at French’s Camp stemmed from Bowman, and other local business owners being concerned over how the festival would impact their bottom line. A new traffic plan to address CHP and Caltrans’ concerns over safety would not allow cars in either direction to make a left hand turn across traffic to a business on the other side of the street. In addition, there will be fencing that might make entrance to the businesses less accessible to normal tourist traffic. (See earlier article here.) At this time, Bowman couldn’t be reached for comment.
Justin Crellin, general manager of the Mateel Community Center which is hosting the event, says that the Mateel is “happy to be moving full steam ahead….This was the final hurdle to get over.” He added that he felt that the local businesses were somewhat mollified by hearing the CHP give more assurances to the affect that CHP would do the best they could to allow left hand turns when the traffic would allow the turns to be made safely.
Crellin believes, “The traffic plan we have in place and the reduced numbers of attendees” as well as the staggered arrival (2500 tickets will be sold allowing a special Thursday night event in addition to the other nights) will cut down on congestion and make it easier for the CHP to allow left hand turns more frequently.
Crellin said that the Mateel still plans on providing shuttle service to facilitate those attending Reggae on the River getting to the Patriot station. He says that all the support systems the Mateel has put in place this year will allow regular tourists to access these merchants and, he believes, allow Reggae goers to “serve as an additional boon to their business.”