The popular outdoor performance series at Morris, Ct.’s South Farms will end on Feb. 1, as the Morris Planning and Zoning Commission voted to issue a cease-and-desist order to the venue. The process was detailed in a report in the Hartford Courant.
Upcoming shows scheduled at the venue, which include performances by Warren Haynes, moe., Goose and Grace Potter, will go on as planned.
The venue previously was used to host weddings and other similar events, but as the COVID-19 environment began to allow for socially distanced shows, the venue shifted to hosting such shows.
According to the article in the Courant, “the commission… determined that South Farms “does not qualify to be reconfigured based on Executive Order 7MM.” Because [Morris zoning enforcement officer Tony] Adili granted the permit in the first place — mistakenly, it now says — the commission will allow the temporary permit to expire on Feb. 1 rather than take immediate action, which could expose the town to a lawsuit.”
The article continued: “Commissioner David Wiig said he’s received more than 50 emails both for and against the concert series — mostly supportive — but argued that the way South Farms is conducting business goes against what was approved in the executive order.”
“We needed to put it on record and make it clear to the South Farms and to the neighbors that the board recognizes that this is not an acceptable use under normal zoning regulations,” Wiig explained to the Courant. “[South Farms] does have concerts, but [owner Ben Paletsky’s] primary use, as he’s stated several times, is a wedding venue. Therefore, the music to me was accessory to that use, whereas now it’s become the primary use. Outdoor performances are not a permitted use in any zone in Morris.”
“Reflecting the long-simmering tension between Yankee and yuppie present in Litchfield County, the dispute has some residents crying not-in-my-backyard,” the article concluded. “Others see the potential for a much-needed economic shot in the arm in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.”