Promoter's failure to navigate red tape silences bluegrass

A World War I doughboy statue stands outside the Leavenworth County Courthouse. Enlarge photo

May 20, 2010

LEAVENWORTH—The Leavenworth County Commission found a promoter of a bluegrass festival planned for this weekend in southwest part the county was unable to meet stipulations in a special use permit

Justin Falleaf of rural Linwood has promoted Festy Fest for three straight years at the site one-half mile east of 250th Street and Kansas Highway 32. But as he was made aware of the need of permits when he helped the owner of the festival site property at 25623 Linwood Road remove trailers from the land, it occurred to him he might need a permit for the festival.

That was indeed true, and Falleaf on Monday asked Leavenworth County commissioners for a special use permit for the festival Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which he said would attract 35 bands and 200 to 300 people a day.

The county granted the permit on the condition Falleaf satisfy 13 county stipulations by the end of the business day Wednesday.

County commissioners agreed Thursday Falleaf failed to acquire $100,000 in event liability insurance needed to protect the county from any lawsuit and to obtain a $10,000 bond to protect the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office against overtime should it be called to the festival.

Leavenworth County Administrator Heather Morgan told commissioners Falleaf did get a $100,000 event liability policy but it only protected his company, Falleaf L.L.C., from liability and not the county.

Falleaf informed county staff he was unable to get the required security bond in the short time available but did offer an irrevocable letter of credit.

County commissioners agreed the such a letter would be better than a bond, but Leavenworth County Counselor David Van Parys said the document presented wasn't an irrevocable letter of credit.

"I would like to see it happen, but we can't put the county at risk," Commissioner J.C. Tellefson said.

Update: Leavenworth County Administrator Morgan said Friday, commissioners had not changed their stance. Should the festival go on, it would be subject to a fine for a code violation.

Morgan could not say was enforcement steps the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office would take.

Leavenworth County Undersheriff Ron Cranor said he had not heard the festival was going on. The sheriff's office didn't get involved with code violations and county zoning and planning would have to file a complaint to get the sheriff's office involved.

"I don't know what our involvement would be," he said.

Leavenworth County Counselor David Van Parys said organizer would be subject to "fines and penalties." He added if Falleaf "doesn't have a permit, he obviously not supposed to do it."

But as to any further action beyond fines, Van Parys said "I can't speculate as to what may or may not happen."

Morgan could not say was enforcement steps the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office would take.

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