County approves camping site for Harmony Festival |

County approves camping site for Harmony Festival

Jeremy Heiman

This year’s Harmony Festival will be allowed to offer camping on the Stapleton property just north of Buttermilk Ski Area, Pitkin County commissioners agreed Tuesday.

But loose ends must be tied up by July 9 or there will be no concert, they warned.

Concert organizer Paul Levine has come to an agreement with Craig Stapleton, an owner of the property, to use the 24-acre property for camping during the Aug. 7-8 festival. The county gave its blessing to the camping arrangement with certain restrictions.

The festival was actually approved last fall with a series of conditions on that approval. The promoters must meet the conditions by July 9, commissioners decided yesterday, or the concert cannot happen.

“As serious as you guys are about putting on a great concert, we’re just as serious about making sure agreements are kept,” Chairwoman Leslie Lamont said.

Conditions placed on the event include the following: Food services must be licensed by the state. Nearby residents must be notified by mail of an individual to contact with any complaints that arise. The organizers’ security plan must be approved by the county sheriff. Wetlands on the Stapleton property must be protected with a six-foot chain-link fence. A certificate verifying liability insurance must be presented to the county. The details of an agreement with the Inn at Aspen, achieved through mediation, to compensate the hotel for any lost business and assuring responsibility for damages, must be presented to the county. The promoters must come to an agreement with RFTA concerning shuttle-bus service from the parking area at Cozy Point Ranch to the concert site. The concert promoters failed to keep an agreement with RFTA to pay the agency in February for bus service during last year’s concert, and did not pay the agency until early June. RFTA representative Paul Hilts had refused to enter into a contract with the organizers this year, but Levine told the commissioners an agreement would be worked out, with payment in advance.

County Planner Suzanne Wolff recommended the commissioners approve camping on the Stapleton land.

“Staff agrees with the applicant that this really is the most logical and safest place to have the camping,” Wolff said. Last year’s concert saw camping on the North 40 property, across Highway 82.

On the 24-acre site, about 15 acres are suitable for camping, excluding the wetland acreage and about two acres used for parking. Though Wolff could find no formula to determine how many campers can be accommodated per acre, she told the commissioners she thought at least 750 campers could take advantage of the site, along with the necessary portable toilets and other facilities.

Commissioner Shellie Roy Harper suggested 10 p.m. curfew for the campground, but Levine noted that the music ends at 10 p.m. and it will simply take an hour or so for everyone to get settled down.

Commissioner Patti Clapper said midnight would be all right, but the board settled on 11 p.m. Alcohol sales on the festival grounds will end at 9 p.m.

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