Rock show can be in Loma, board decides

Mesa County commissioners Tuesday gave the go-ahead for a classic rock festival to be held in Loma sometime later this year, overriding the concerns of farmers, ranchers and other area residents who contended the festival doesn’t fit in the area and could harm their properties.

The board unanimously approved a conditional-use permit for Bobby Willis, who plans to hold a three-day festival on 82 acres of land just north of Interstate 70 on the west side of Colorado Highway 139.

Commissioners prohibited Willis from hosting the festival the same weekend as Rock Jam, scheduled for Aug. 26 and 27 in Mack. Rich Krohn, one of Willis’s attorneys, said the festival will take place after Aug. 1, and Willis’s representatives will notify the county of the festival dates 60 days in advance.

The festival is expected to constitute a test run of the Loma site, as Willis would like to create a permanent concert venue on the property.

Willis hopes to draw 20,000 people to the festival and plans to create 7,000 parking spaces and more than 700 recreational-vehicle camping spaces. His representatives outlined a number of provisions to reduce impacts to surrounding property owners, including hiring 56 security officers, providing on-site medical services, building an eight-foot fence along adjacent property lines, installing security cameras on the fence and enforcing no-parking restrictions on public streets in the neighborhood.

Commissioners also tacked on a number of conditions, including:

Ending music by 10 p.m. each day.

Managing dust by either covering internal roads and parking areas with gravel or turf.

Reclaiming and revegetating the festival site within a year of the event.

Providing a security presence in the adjacent Red Canyon Vistas subdivision to minimize loitering and potential vandalism.

Those steps weren’t enough to satisfy many Loma residents.

Kim Bennett called a requirement for residents who live in the area to show a pass to access their homes “ridiculous” and said the festival, should it become a regular occurrence, will sink property values.

Rob Kurtzman, a Loma resident and forensic pathologist who contracts with the Mesa County Coroner’s Office to perform autopsies, acknowledged telling Willis’s traffic consultant, Skip Hudson, that should anyone die in a traffic accident in conjunction with the Loma concert, he would refer the relatives of the deceased to Hudson.

That’s because Kurtzman said he doesn’t believe the intersection of Colorado Highway 139 and U.S. Highway 6&50 is equipped to handle the amount of traffic the festival will generate.

But Loma resident Lonnie Streeter said Willis has as much right to put on a music festival as Country Jam or any other organization.

“No matter where they have it, it will be an inconvenience to someone,” he said.

Several people claimed the festival offers the benefits of bringing additional jobs and revenue to the county.


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