Statement from Joerg Arnu, Rachel resident and webmaster (10/07/19 commissioners meeting)


 

Intro

As the Rachel web master I speak on behalf of the following Rachel residents: Pat and Marsha Jordan, Bob and Penny Clabaugh, Tom Scales, Jim and Jo Ann Barfield, Tim Johnson, David and Faun Day, Kim Gregos, Linda Hellow and for myself. Statements from some of these residents are included in the material I handed you. I know most other Rachel residents feel the same way we do. There are new "No Trespassing" signs all over town as a result of the Alienstock festival.

First of all, we want to thank Sheriff Lee and his department for keeping us safe

We felt that the Alienstock event was a bad idea, and now, after the event, we want to make sure there will not be a repeat. At least not the way it happened this year.

As you all know many of the concerns that we voiced at the August meeting became a reality:

There were multiple traffic accidents, including a rollover with serious injuries

There were multiple arrests for trespassing onto military property

The event caused high expenses for the county

People were racing through Rachel all weekend with no event security to stop them

There was a shortage of food vendors at the event site

The only reason this event did not end in disaster is the fact that less than 10% of the originally expected crowd showed up

 

Cost for residents and for the county

According to published figures the cost of this event for the county is over $250,000 with very little or no revenue.

There will also be cost associated with settling law suits stemming from the event.

As taxpayers in this county we are concerned about the high losses this year and the prospect of losing more money with a repeat event next year. These losses will likely be recouped through tax increases.

Rachel residents had extra expenses to prepare for the event: We had to post signs, add or repair fencing and add lights around our homes to protect them. Some of us spent up to $1,000, not counting the time we had to invest to prepare for the event. A part time Rachel resident drove here all the way from New York State to protect his property.

It does not make sense to us that the residents and the county lose money while the only business in Rachel, the Little A'Le'Inn makes money from camp sites, merchandise, food and beverage sales, vendor commissions and significantly increased business in the months before and after the event.

 

Allowing the event because "people will come anyway"

This year's reasoning that "people will come anyway" is not true for next year. If it is made clear now that there will not be an event next year very few, if any, people will show up.

The commissioners in Nye County did not approve an event there and only 50 people showed up.

 

The Little A'Le'Inn failed to fulfill the requirements in the special events permit

The Inn failed to hire a security company. Instead Cody and Ryan were directing traffic without proper training. Extra sheriff's department units had to be stationed around the Inn to assist, costing the county extra money.

The Inn failed to set up road blocks on roads to the residential part of town. As a result we had event visitors racing through town all weekend at highway speeds on our dirt roads. This caused a lot of dust and unsafe conditions for the residents.

The special event permit application was for 500 people and 100 cars. There were an estimated 3,000 people at the event, six times more than the permit allowed. The expected attendance was up to 30,000, or 60 times the permitted number. Based on those numbers alone the permit should have been denied.

Although camp fires and fireworks were specifically prohibited there were numerous camp fires and fireworks creating a fire hazard for our community. There was even a vendor selling fire wood. See our photos and the letter from Lora Green.

The Inn failed to do effective checks for weapons or drugs at the event site.

There is trash blown from the event site onto surrounding public land (see photos) and along the highway to Rachel. No one has cleaned that up.

On a windy day a lot of dust from the disturbed ground at the event site is blowing across the highway, creating a dust hazard for motorists. See photos.

 

Planning department failed to take control of the event and to keep it organized

Local residents were not involved in the planning of this event that had a significant impact on the whole community

Local residents were not kept informed of plans and felt completely left alone

The planning department took up to 3 days to respond to our requests for information. If the requested information was provided at all.

From the material presented by the Inn it should have been clear that they were not capable of organizing an event of the expected magnitude

When the event creator pulled out of the event the basis for granting the event permit was greatly diminished. At that time the special event permit should have been withdrawn and the event cancelled

With all due respect, we feel that the commissioners and the planning department failed us Rachel residents

 

Our Objectives

We do not want another Alienstock event in Rachel

But, if there is another event some adjustments need to be made:

#1: The Planning Department must take full control of preparations and requirements, not the event organizer

#2: Requirements for the permit must be defined in advance and the event organizer must deliver proof that all requirements are fulfilled before an event permit is issued. Penalties must be defined if the organizer fails to deliver on any of the requirements.

#3: Rachel residents must be involved in all steps of the planning process

#4: Limit attendees to 3,000 max. That was the maximum number this year, which was barely tolerable. The number of attendees can easily be limited by selling event tickets.

#5: The event organizer must pay for all cost for security, medical and other cost associated with the event and reimburse the county for any expense caused by the event such as extra law enforcement presence etc. A percentage of that cost must be paid in advance.

#6: There must be road blocks on all roads into the residential part of Rachel, in particular on Groom Ave that is a short cut from the event site to the back gate road

#7: No properties in the residential part of Rachel can be used for the event in any way

#8: Event rules must be enforced. Especially no camp fires and no weapons or drugs

#9: There must be a trash fence around the event site and all camp sites to catch blowing trash

#10: There must be more trash cans and they must have a lid to keep trash contained

 



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