With festivals booked into September, a Scott Twp. music venue is under court order to halt performances until it has in hand several permits that it should have had before ever opening.
Mountain Sky, located off Heart Lake Road, moved this weekend’s third annual Still Meadows Revue to Sandy Valley Campground in White Haven.
Just what will happen to other events remains to be seen.
Mountain Sky founder Mike “Ragu” Rogowski said the venue had operated without permits until residents started calling the township with noise complaints.
The township says he needs a building permit for the stage, an entertainment permit, a land-development permit, and a conditional use permit to build a stage and hold concerts in the middle of 117 acres in a district zoned for industrial use.
The conflict landed the parties before Lackawanna County Judge Carmen D. Minora on June 16, when Mr. Rogowski challenged a cease-and-desist letter the township had sent him. Transcripts from the hearing show both parties agreed that Mountain Sky would hold one more festival and then stop operating until obtaining the required permits.
“Between June 16 and July 1, when they applied for one of the permits, they continued to make contracts, make payments to artists for future performances and continued to sell tickets,” said township solicitor Joseph O’Brien. “They were thumbing their nose at everybody.”
Mountain Sky attorney Jack Brier chalked it up to a misunderstanding.
“These guys just didn’t realize the whole picture — that you don’t just go down and put the money down and get a permit,” he said.
On Wednesday, Mr. Rogowski again challenged the cease-and-desist letter. Judge Minora ruled in favor of Scott Twp., saying Mountain Sky must get its permits straightened out before more concerts can be held.
With the permit application filed, the venue will remain shuttered at least until next month.
On Tuesday, the Scott Twp. Planning Commission unanimously agreed to recommend the supervisors grant the permit as long as Mountain Sky can meet conditions related to noise, hours of operation, number of concerts in a year and bathrooms.
Board of supervisors President Michael Giannetta said an engineer and planning consultant will review the application and the board will consider it at its August meeting. The supervisors do not have to make a decision at that time.
Mr. Rogowski had applied for a conditional-use permit in March but never received a response.
Mr. O’Brien said the submitted application was incomplete. Mr. Brier countered that the township did not properly communicate with Sky Mountain.
“The simple answer is that they should have done something and sent it back to them in 60 days,” Mr. Brier said.
Following the June 16 hearing, Mr. Rogowski contracted with a security/emergency medical service per an agreement brokered by Judge Minora.
He also wants to work with township officials to meet their requests.
“I’m not looking for a fight, I’m looking to resolve the issues that we have,” he said.