'A muddy mess:' Nateva Fest campsite ruled off limits

NORWAY — A 15-acre hillside at the Oxford Fairgrounds slated for camping during the three-day Nateva Festival in July will not be used because the site has been cleared and excavated to the point of becoming unstable — "a muddy mess," Planning Board Chairman Dennis Gray said Tuesday.

“It's an ecological disaster waiting to happen,” Gray said. The land was being cleared to use as a campground for some of the 14,000 concert-goers expected to descend on the Oxford Hills next month for the Nateva Festival and for future festival and event use.

Gray said he believes the site work has created a safety issue to anyone using the hill and an environmental issue for the area. The main issue is erosion from silt is washing away.

The issue surfaced last month when abutters to the fairgrounds, on Route 26 and Pottle Street in Oxford and Norway, saw a nearby pond filling with silt from site work at the fairgrounds. About 15 acres of the 21-acre site under construction is in Norway. Another 6 acres are in Oxford, according to Norway Building Inspector Jeff Van Decker.

Scott McGee, project manager for the site job, confirmed at the time that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection “suggested” that workers from McGee Contracting of West Gardner stop clearing ground until they received the proper storm-water permitting. The lack of a permit is in violation of DEP regulations and a town ordinance that requires the company to go before the Planning Board for a site-plan review if earth is going to be moved under certain conditions.

McGee told the Sun Journal at the time, "We had a little groundwater get away from us.”

Permits were applied for, but when Planning Board members went on a tour of the site late last week, they found evidence that the site work had gone too far, Gray said.

Van Decker said he believes the landowners had continued to work on the site after being told they needed to get state and local permits, but were doing so to try to stabilize the runoff problem.

Gray said the Planning Board went on the site review as part of a review process required for permitting to do the type of work being done at the fairgrounds. The work had already been started without proper permitting.

“We had no idea,” Gray said of the impact the construction had taken on the hillside.

He said the board would not continue the review for a permit until they see a stabilization plan.

Van Decker said fairgrounds co-owner Rupert Grover has told the Planning Board that the site would be fenced off and not used for this festival.

Grover, who initially claimed not to be involved in the issue when asked by the Sun Journal to comment Tuesday, said, “I'd rather not say anything at the moment.”

Van Decker said the town is not planning to fine the fairgrounds owners for the violations, but the DEP may. DEP official Jeff Kalinich, who is working on the Oxford Fairgrounds issue with Van Decker, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Mike Wendell's picture

Seriously?

You expect someone from the Sun Journal to respond? heh Good luck with that.

 's picture

source:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/topic.php?uid=90647306489&topic=14977

 's picture

More from Frank Chandler on this inaccurate article:

From Frank Chandler, Nateva Festival organzier (posted on the Nateva Festival Facebook Page):

"On behalf of the Nateva Team, I'd like to take a moment or two to discuss the article written by Leslie Dixon of the Lewiston Sun Journal yesterday. Bluntly put, it is our position that it is inaccurate, misleading, poorly researched and simply irresponsible reporting. ...The Oxford Fairgrounds, which is roughly 85% in the town of Oxford and 15% in the town of Norway, is looking for a permit to put a storm water drainage system on a hill in Norway. The hill is a piece of land that was recently cleared and is being considered for development for sometime in the future. It was determined by the Norway Planning Board that the area may not be suitable for long term development and it was decided to table the application for the storm water permit for the time being, to be revisited later. Nateva is a tenant of the Fairground and we have nothing to do with this application process, nor do we have any real interest in the outcome. If Miss Dixon had spoken with the Norway Town Manager, or the Norway Chief of Police, she would have heard from them what I heard today, when I spoke with both of them individually, which to paraphrase was something along the lines of 'Nateva has the appropriate licenses from the State of Maine and the Town of Norway to hold their event and use all of the land that they have leased'. I hope that Miss Dixon takes the time to have the same conversations with the same people, and steps up to correct this situation as it is causing a great deal of anxiety for our customers, at a really busy time for us. We have worked hard to always do the right thing for our customers. We have also tried hard to do the right thing regarding the towns of Oxford and Norway, the neighbors around the venue, as well as the musicians and bands that are part of the Nateva Community. I hope the Sun Journal does the right thing by doing a little research and getting the facts out there. An apology would be nice too. We are two weeks from the Inaugural Nateva Festival and I'd like to encourage you all to take advantage of the $89 Day Tickets that are now being offered for all 3 days, along with the free camping and shuttle service from the Oxford Speedway, 3 miles down the road from the venue. It's going to be an extraordinary weekend in Maine and all of us at Nateva hope you can join us for all or a part of the celebration. Hope to see you on the Norway hill in 2 weeks."

 's picture

PLEASE RESPOND SUN JOURNAL!

Here's a quote from Frank Chandler, Nateva Festival organizer, concerning the reporting of Leslie H. Dixon:

"I just want to point out that the article written by Leslie Dixon of the Lewiston Sun Journal is inaccurate, misleading and poorly researched. The Fairgrounds is looking for a permit to develop a hill in Norway, Maine and it was determined by the planning board that the area may not be suitable for longterm development and it was decided to table the application for the time being. Nateva is a tenant of the Fairground and has nothing to do with this application process, nor do we have any real interest in the outcome. If Miss Dixon had spoken with the Norway Town Manager or the Norway Chief of Police, she would have heard from them what I heard today, which to paraphrase was something along the lines of ‘Nateva has the appropriate license from the State of Maine and the Town of Norway to hold their event and use all of the land that they have leased."

 's picture

source:

 's picture

Leslie Dixon and the Sun Journal should be ashamed...

From the moderator of Nateva Festival's Facebook page

Nateva Maine:
Yes. The reporter has totally messed up her facts and there is simply no truth to the notion that we can't use the hill. This is the second article that she has written that uses Nateva as the headline and has nothing to do with Nateva. The Fairgrounds is applying for some sort of building permit and that was what this was all about. We are a ... See Morerenter of the land. We have the appropriate permits from the town of Oxford, Norway and The State of Maine. We have spoken with Norway's Chief of Police and Town Manager and both agree that this has nothing to do with Nateva. Sorry you believe everything you read in the paper. Can we go back to dealing with our website which has crashed and continue planning the festival, or should we discuss this in more detail? Sorry to be so harsh, but we've always been straight up with people and to have people screaming in capital letters about spending money for nothing because of one local article is absurd.

Please respond Ms. Dixon for your claimed inaccuracies.

 's picture

Bad reporting?

This article is currently creating a lot of panic amongst the potential attendees of the festival (it was posted on Nateva Festival's Facebook page). Nateva has responded with the following quote:

Nateva Maine,
"Are you people kidding me? There is almost no relationship between reality and this article. It's not even worth a reply. Relax and plan your festival. See you on the hill.

So as the folks at Nateva seem to claim, is this a case of poor/inaccurate journalism, or are they just trying to buy time before the onslaught of ticket refund requests begin? Clearly the Sun Journal needs to respond with more information.

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