Travis County Commissioners Court
May 8, 2007
Number 3 is to receive public testimony and take appropriate action concerning large gatherings with loud music at the j. Lorraine ranch on 14219 littig road.
>> judge, last Tuesday, may 1, 2007, under citizens communication, it was brought to our attention of a lot of thing in the community -- by mr. And mrs. Donahue brought a lot of finding that were kind of shocking to me. I had no knowledge of any of these things that was going on at the j. Lorraine ranch at 14219 littig road. Of course, the things that they talked about in my opinion were not acceptable activities that I feel ought to be displayed according to what they had testified to on last week. And I guess they will speak to that again, but bad of the restricted dialogue under citizen communication, we were not able to go into a bunch of detailed discussion, so from that point and then hearing from another constituent, ms. Austin, from that point I decided to go ahead and place the item on the agenda where we could hear more detailed discussion on the issues that they brought to our attention. I have also invited several staff, Travis County staff, the police department -- not the fire marshal, the fire department, tnr, staff, hopefully law enforcement. Of course, hhs, health and human services. So -- and of course we have our county attorney sitting right here. So we can kind of maybe hear where we are with this and what we may need to do to address the concerns that these folks have brought forth. So there's a lot of backup material that have been supplied as far as gathering some of this information to make sure that we have everything in place for action I think that probably needs to be taken today. But before I go any farther, there may be those from the community who want to come up and speak, judge.
>> we have six seats available and six microphones. So if you're here to give information on this item, six of you can come forth at this time. And we do request that after your comments, we'll see if the court has questions, and if so we'll ask those questions. If not, we will need to make that seat available for others. So as you finish and we ask questions and you answer if there are, if we give others an opportunity to come forth, we can keep it moving that way. Is it okay to start here and work our way over and around? Is that all right? We need your full name and we'd be happy to get your comments.
>> my name is brandon donahue. I live on kimbro road out east of manor in close proximity to the t.j. Lorraine thing. And like I said last week, I was a complaining about the noise, the gathering of people, cars parking all over the place. We tried to talk to the gentleman that operates the place or owns it, and he just didn't seem responsible whatsoever. And so we went out and we got concerned and then we found out he had a request for a beer and wine, and with all the things that went on for the past two years, now he wants a beer and wine license, what else is going to go on? We have people here that will probably be tell you about incidents that wbls on and a lot of them know better than I do because three of these people here live within a few hundred feet of this place. And I know they're angry. So I'll just release it to them and let them tell you what they see. I can hear noise and I'm disturbed about it.
>> how far away do you live?
>> I live approximately a half to three-quarters of a mile away. And I have on occasion -- I've heard a party start out like Friday. This is at least I'd say a year ago. That thing didn't end until Monday morning. And it was a constant boom, boom, boom. It drove me nuts. I had no idea what going on. I didn't know where it was coming from or anything. And eventually I got brought on board. But these people here, they are in these people's front yard. And it doesn't seem like anybody has any disregard, they don't have any remorse about what they did, disturbing the neighborhood. They just don't care as long as their making a buck. That's what we get. And I don't think these people should be able to increase their situation because they have not been good neighbors. And so in respect for tierjs I will like to release it to these people and let them tell you what happened to them.
>> any questions plaintiff donahue? -- any questions for mr. Donahue? We will need your seat. Next.
>> I think I'll go ahead and relinquish because I also spoke last week. And as I said, as I addressed the officers in charge, my concern mostly was about it seems the lack of interest in regards to the youth, the preteens, the young people that were out there at these raves that was going on. More than anything, I think that just by them being able to have a place to come out and participate in these activities was things that shouldn't be going on in that particular community. It's a housing -- it's a neighborhood community. It's not a place for this type after venue in the first place. We've got new houses in the area, we have planned schools, we have school children out there. These noises and thing are going on when people have to get up and go to work. It's just not the environment for what's going on. And I also addressed my concerns. It seems like when we called the law enforcement, we didn't really get that much of a response from them. It was something like, they would always come out, but the only thing they could do was to go and tell the people to turn down the noise. And that would only go on as long as the officer was standing in their presence. And as soon as he pulled off and went on about his business, the noise came back up. And yet when we asked them if there was something we could do to stop it, western told that their hands were tied, that the law enforcement people couldn't do anything. So I had a problem with that. I had a problem with if you're the law enforcement, why can't you enforce the law. You're disturbing the peace. The community is being upset. Other than that, like my husband just -- and by the way, I'm dolores donahue. I apologize. I'm going to go ahead, because the people that are seated over here have far more important things to say than what I've already said last week. And if I might come back later on maybe and add something more to maybe what they have to say. Right now my mind is not clear. I'm getting upset, again worked up, because just the idea that this is being -- this situation is being presented out there in that neighborhood for 22 years, 23 years it's been quiet, peaceful. We've not had any problems. It's a nice area. It's just as nice as any other area in Austin. And to be disrupted, I'm just upset about it. So not to hold up any more time. I'm going to let the other people speak.
>> may I interject quickly? I'd like the world to know, that guy over there, dan smith, is the best public worker I've ever dealt with in my life. I'm emotional here. I'm sorry. That man is like a pile driver. You give him a problem, he'll take it and he'll run with it. I didn't know where to go when I had this problem be. I had no idea. That guy, you've got a good man there. I can't say enough about him. He's fantastic.
>> he's really worked with us on this problem. Not only this. I've been working with dan for I think three or four years and it started with them trying to bring a dump out there in our neighborhood. Mayor wynn is not a place for you to-- manor is not a place to bring your garage. It's a beautiful area. They've tried to bring trailer parks, three and four hundred in numbers. Come on. We don't need it.
>> we're kind of restricted as to what we're going to discuss under this item. Two of you on the front row, are you here on this item? We'll get to you real soon.
>> yes. My name is (indiscernible), and I want to thank judge Biscoe and the Commissioners for allowing me to come before you this morning. I'd like to give you a little background on where I'm coming from on all this. On April 21st my 15-year-old daughter went missing for four days. Without our per hition or knowledge, older stients drove her out to a rave located in manor. Located at the j. Lorraine ranch, and the property owned by mr. George richards. Sue so we're on the same page, a rave has been defined as an all night dance event where dj's and other performers play rave music and other types of electronic dance music. In the 80's the term began to be used to describe the rave subculture that grew out of the acid house movement. The availability of drugs, particularly ecstasy at modern parties has caused them to become be the targets by police and many parental groups around the world. These parties go on in canada, in europe, in australia. They were very large in houston for quite awhile. As a result of our daughter going missing, be we began to search cell phone records, intill trait myspace accounts on line and I heard of having this rave occurred. I was put in touch with judge Biscoe's assistant. Dan smith. Dan and I spent the better part of two days on the phone and I learned that the landowner contracts out his land to a rave promoter who comes from san marcos. The promoter is using a myspace page to go and advertise to children of all ages. That's how he's premoating these events, children of all ages, encouraging them to come to the age. I have learned that students from Cedar Park, westwood, mcneil and Round Rock all had come out to the site that evening to attend the rave. His act is myspace.com/512entertainment. Dan and attack to the -- dan and I talked to the promoter and I discussed any legal ramifications that might come about if my child did not get home safely. The promoter then called dan later in the day stating that I had obtained new information regarding the whereabouts of my child and that some people had her up in killeen and would be returning her shortly. The promoter's some people turned out to be two imeeses of his. One is a public relations person who actually placed her in a car with a friend who was the dj. They had her Saturday in the wee hours of the morning, all day Sunday and thin returned her Monday to the Round Rock area where they dumped her off at a friend's house. Apparently after speaking with the pr person, there was a strong impetus of returning this child because of fears of what would happen if she was not returned. My child was finally gotten back to us on Tuesday after working closely with the police and law enforcement in our area. Gentlemen, this activity has got to stop. We have an obligation not to just look out for our young people, but for our community at large. We must send a clear message of zero tolerance for this kind of partying. The very nature of this event suggests possible sus suspicious activity. Any school, city event, private camps that run legitimate musical gathering are all very conscious of legal ramifications. Everybody be I've ever worked with in a school district bends over backwards to make sure that issues related to, for example, security, health and advertising are all taken care of. Issues of security would involve having law enforcement present there that evening, overseeing carding of minors, overseeing bag searches as we do in venues downtown to make sure that illegal activity, illegal drug are not being brought in to the event. Very simply, people arrive sometimes with containers. Make sure they are left out in a dump site and they are not dragged in to an event. Issues of health. Making sure that sanitation, toilets are available, that their exists proper water for the amount of people present and to possibly have emt's roving the perimeter and the party so that if there is an emergency, they could be walkie-talkied in to help somebody in distress. That exact thing hand downtown just awhale ago when they had a wake boarding event downtown across from the historical museum down thrrk the bob bullock museum, there was actually somebody who got too much sun and started to feel dizzy and sat down and the emt's were immediately called over. Also, advertising. We need to make sure that the venues are age appropriate, not advertised to children of all age. It's not hard to determine. In my opinion, the very rural location of this rave allows the landowner and the promoter to remove the event from the public eye in the hopes of circumventing the safety and security measures that a more responsible city would have in place were they to have a music venue. Today I give you a huge wake-up call regarding these activities on the ranch. Mr. Richards has filed for a liquor license under the name shady deal. My child could just as easily been dead or abducted and I urge you to be very proactive and as the adults in charge, send a clear message that the community no longer wants to be held hostage to this type of activity. It's only a matter of time before children driving in an unfamiliar neighborhood in the wee hours of the morning, possibly with their minds altered, cause a horrendous accident. I hope mr. Richard understands the legal attorneys will be lining up to relieve him of any financial gain he has made over the years and then some if this were to occur. Perhaps today is a wake-up call for all of us. I want to thank especially dan be smith. He has been fundamentally instrumental in getting my daughter back to us and has spent two day nonstop on the phone to that effect. And he still continues. And I want to thank the council this morning for their very thoughtful concern.
>> how is your daughter?
>> she's good.
>> I know earlier when you call me last week right after the citizen communication with mr. And mrs. Donahue, you also called me at lunch break and I told you then that we were going to go ahead and place an towm the agenda. Let me make something clear to everyone here. I am the Commissioner of precinct 1 and the judge and I both represent this area. The judge represents all of Travis County. Commissioner Davis just represents that portion of Travis County which is precinct 1. And as I stated last week, I had no knowledge of any of this going on. And again, I want to make sure that we were in a format where we could have an exchange of dialogue. For whatever reason it went to the judge's office, which is appropriate. I have no problem with that. It's just that Commissioner of precinct 1 had no knowledge of anything, but we're going to try to gt to the bottom of it. Thank you very much for your comments.
>> so is this your daughter and her friends first time at this location?
>> to my knowledge it is. The thing that was heartbreaking is to go on to the myspace account and know that all these kids from all these high schools were getting solicited to come out to these events. Children of all ages is how it was stied. And that just can't be be. The very nature of the event, the names, the terminology used at the event, sets up a bad situation.
>> okay. Questions? Thank you.
>> hello. My name is hildia rose yo. And I've been serving the community of manor for the last 14 and a half years. I am a minister, pastor and founder of the word of god church next to the city hall, the main street in manor. The reason that I'm here today is because I live right behind this place named j. Lorraine ghost town. I'm probably 300 feet from my door to this place. I have Sunday morning, Sunday evening services in manor. All day I attend church helping out people there. This situation with these raves going on, it affects a lot of my ministry. I dedicate Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays to study my two sermons, and being up all night Saturday night with all this loud music -- and we're talking about even to 6:00 o'clock in the morning there's still people out there jumping, dancing, I don't know, but it affects a lot because during Sunday it's very hard for me and my family to help on Sunday morning services and do our ministry. I've seen a lot of things there from my window, my two daughters that I have there, we've seen that it very dangerous. We've seen people using the restroom. My daughter, my 11-year-old little girl, she's seen this. All night long -- we turn our lights off as soon as we get dark because I have 31 windows at my house, seven doors, and I never had occur tans. It's -- curtains. It's a nice place out in the country. As soon as it gets dark we have to turn out lights off because we're worried, we're afraid of these parties. And they're very wild. We can see it very clear from our windows. We have people driving up to my driveway because mine is right next to george's driveway to this place. Midnight, three, 4:00 o'clock in the morning. We are just watching, taking care of my family, cars driving up thinking that's the place, that's the party. We've seen young people -- I can't say the ages, but we've seen them getting very close to my property, my home. The cars -- we're talking about maybe 500 cars parked out there very, very close to my door, and we've seen them getting very close. I don't know if they're drugged up or drunk. I don't know. But they -- it's a group of people. We have situations where they get stuck when it's muddy. There's no place torl park out there. They're using the field. And we have situations where we've seen -- there was a situation where-- my husband has a trucking business. Chains are missing and we know that they were taken so that they can get out from the mud when they get stuck. We've seen on my driveway, I've seen shoes, ladies' high heels on my driveway. I have heard several times girls screaming after parties, after everybody has gone. I called the cops several times. I hear people playing out there -- I don't know what kind of playing, but yelling, pretty serious, the girls. And we fear -- I've been praying about this and I'm glad that everything is okay with her daughter, but I knew that something like this could happen and I didn't know maybe could happen in my house or in my neighbor's home or somebody else, but I believe that this was a warning. Thank god she's okay. But this is the reason that I'm here. We see all this. It's affecting our Saturday night sleep so I can do my 11, 10 hour ministry service service. Another thing, we are foster parents. We've had teenager's moms with their newborn babies, all ages we have is there at our home. All those children that have been in our home, they come from homes that they have been abused, alcohol, drugs, beating. They have been taken away from their parents. And we have a situation where they're afraid of cops. They're afraid of loud noises. And we went through a lot with the foster children, when wh they see the cops. And being up, just seeing us awake, going around the house, checking every room, and it was pretty bad for the children. The teenagers, the two girls came from drug problems. We had hard times too where they wanted -- we're only like, what, 300 feet away, my door to the end of this place, and where they wanted to be there. That was their life-style. They wanted to -- hey, why can't we go? It's just right here. And we went through that problem too with them, where we had to explain to them that that was not good and that was one of the reasons that they were there with us. One of the reason. So it's very dangerous. Our children have run away. Our foster children. Little. We're talking about seven, six-year-old little children that we have had. And now with this going on, we're not at peace. We're always -- when they're playing out there on a Saturday, I'm sorry, Saturday or Sunday frks wech time to go back home, on Monday they run all the way to the railroad traksz. The cops have been out there to help us with this situation. This place, we don't see it safe. After parties like this, we don't want the children to be out there. No telling what's on -- hey, what's on the sand where they play volleyball? Anyway, that's the situation. And I thank you very much.
>> so have you tried to meet with the owner of the property?
>> yes, sir. I did talk a couple of times with george, and -- but I don't think that -- I mentioned one time, I said -- I don't know if he remembers, but I said can you at least fence -- I have 15 acres and he has I believe 15 too, 14 and a half, something like that. I said can you at least fence up your property at at least I'll feel a little bit more safe. And they'll know, three, four, six in the morning they'll know there's a fence there. They'll know that's another area. At least they'll think maybe not to cross over. But nothing has been done.
>> good morning, judge, Commissioners. Thank you for opportunity to come before you this morning. Without being redundant, let me give you a little back background on this situation. I built on home on 30 acres in 1986. Mr. Richard brought 15 ache eshz and this woman bought the other 15 acres right behind him. And george did not live on the property, but he started building little structures out there. And we enjoyed seeing them going up. They're made out of old wood and they're very unique and different. And it looks like a ghost town. He named this place j. Lorraine, Texas. And he's got a marquee out there as you come off of littig road and you can see it. After about two or three years of construction, which mostly he did himself, and I started having some venues out here. And some weddings or gathering during the day. And that was okay. Those thing are not a problem to us. I live about maybe 2,000, 3,000 feet away from him across the field, across my property. On to his. And back in 2003, we had a captain from the Travis County sheriff's east command come and visit my wife and i. And we welcomed her into our home and she said she was the one that made us aware that these all night gatherings, which were not very frequent, but were begin to go happen at least once or twice a year, they were raves. And we told her --
>> [inaudible - no mic].
>> this is back in early 2003 and maybe late 2002. And the reason I can place that is because in 2003, August fifth, we had a national nights out at our home and captain claire, she was a captain then. I believe she's a lieutenant now somewhere in another area of the county. And she's the one who informed us firsthand that these were raves going on. She spoke to fows a good hour at our home and basically I guess the one question that sticks to my mind was -- she told us the raves, what all transpired in the raves. Drugs, alcohol, whatever. And I asked her, I said, well, you know, if you know that the raves are ongoing, why can't you -- law enforcement do something about it? And as best as I can recollect, hur response to me is you know, they've gotten a little smarter nowadays. She said, these folks don't distribute drugs during the raves. They already come with the drugs in their system so they limit their transactions of drugs. So she said it's very hard to make a drug bust. And I said how did you become aware? He's got a marquee, sign, and I never see anything advertised? They mostly don't start until 10:00 at night. By that time it's mark dark, no one knows what's going on out there. And they keep a low profile on the events. There's nothing on the marquee during the day that says that a rave is going to be held, so we as neighbors are unaware until 10:00 at night they crank up their electronic noise. And I love all kinds of music, but this to me is not music. Last year at 10:00 they just about blue me off a chair. I guess they're testing their system. Anyway, since 2003, he's been having raves out there once, twice, maybe three times, not very much, but enough to really disturb the neighborhood, the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood. Up until about a year and a half ago, thereabouts, mr. Riches finally moved them to their property. And when he held a rave on a Saturday night and all Sunday morning, five, 6:00 o'clock in the morning, at the time I think we called the police. Over the years I've called the sheriff's department many times and they'll come out and go over and ask them to turn it down. Many times they'll come back to me and say what does that sound like? And I'll say I can still hear it. The bass is the big problem, but the other music that comes along with it is also a problem. And in some of these raves they really get all excited and I can hear the people, the party goars out there just whooping and hollering. Sometimes the sheriff will come back to me and say what does it sound like? I'll say it's pretty accident right now. And this is two or 3:00 o'clock in the morning right now. A lot of times they'll come back and say look, this is the phone number for the promoter. If you still have problems with the noise, give them a call and ask them to turn it down. And I have many times in the past. Many times before I even call the sheriff I call the promoter and I say you guys having that rave out there at george's place. Yes. Would you please turn it down? Most of the time they complied. But even when they turn it down, it's still bother some. When you're out in the country and things are still -- even if the wind is blowing from one particular direction, I can have a neighbor a half mile away and I can hear them talk. Sound just carries out there in the open fields. So I had a problem. About a year and a half ago george moved on to the property and my wife and I visited him after a rave, and I like george as a neighbor. I've been to his place a couple of times when he first started having some small events out there. The first thing I asked george is george, how did you sleep Saturday night? And he was kind of baffled when I asked him that. And I asked him again, he never really gave me a response. My wife and I talked to him for awhile, and we expressed our concern with the all night raves that he was having. The best way to summarize it, george's response to us is there's nothing I can do about it. It's the promoter. I've leased my property out to the promoter and you need to talk to him. So we really got nowhere with him.
>> he is the owner of the property?
>> george richards is.
>> and he actually resides on the property?
>> up until about a year and a half ago he did not reside there. But when he did reside there, I went and spoke to him. And I told him also at that time, I said, george, you know, I know you weren't living on the property and you were having these raves, you rented out the event, I serksd but when I saw you move on to the property, I thought that perhaps you would curtail this type of activity, but apparently it hasn't. And as a matter of fact, the raves have been increasing in number. I think last year at least four to six raves. George says four. I think it was more than that. On halloween he -- they have a big bash on halloween. These real subliminal lights. I'm 2,000, 3,000 feet away. The place doesn't really light up, but you can see they have some kind of lights out there. And they have some big all night raves out there, especially on halloween. So anyway, the raves have been increasing in frequency. The reason we're here today, the reason we're here today is because my neighbors, the donahues, finally got fed up with this, with the noise, and they live farther away than we do. When my wife sleeps with ear plugs on and she says I can finally hear the noise, this is the time I finally call the sheriff. The reason we're here today is because he's supplied for a beer and wine license permit, which we have protested to the tabc. We've sent you a copy of the protest letter, Commissioner, and I believe judge Biscoe we've also sent you a copy. We were unaware that mr. Richards had applied for a beer and wine license. His first application was back in June of last year. Now, in the application for a beer and wine license permit, he is supposed to notify his immediate neighbors that live within 300 feet of him. And one neighbor is here and the other one is right across the railroad tracks. When we became aware of the application, we met with dan smith of your office and he informed us that-- because he has been aware of the problems we've been out there there with the all nate raves. He made us aware of the application and we saw that there were some discrepancies with the application. I contacted the other neighbor and asked if she had been notified by mail. No. And the other neighbor, no. Which he indicated do his application.
>> and just for the record, that relates to the mass gatherings and the music --
>> well, this is the reason we're here. Let me tie it together for you, judge. I don't want to stray. I understand your viewpoint. We met with mr. Richards here on the 23rd. And because he wants his beer and wine license application, he agreed to drop the raves. But everything that we have been hearing from reliable source sz that there was another rave scheduled for may the 12th, which is coming up this Saturday. And also mrs. Austin's child, the situation that occurred with her child at the last rave on the 21st --
>> on that particular date that you just mentioned on may 12th, there is something that did come out on the website that this particular event will not be held on may 12th.
>> I just got a copy of it.
>> [overlapping speakers].
>> do you see the reason that they state for the change of venue on the second page?
>> it says due to anticipated bad weather.
>> that hasn't stopped them before.
>> go ahead.
>> you know, he just has a field throughout for parking. And there's been many days or instances when raves have been held out there and the customers can't park on his field because it's taylor clay, black dirt and when it gets wet, you get in there, you get stuck and you can't get out. They park on the showlers of littig road and that road is not very wide. It just an old two lane road, maybe 10-foot lane on each side and the showlers are deevment it's not a nice smooth shoulder you can drive on. It's like a ditch area. And when that happens, they take up all of littig road east and westbound. Cars have gotten stuck. There's a bunch of trash and debris the next be morning. I do give him credit, there are people out there the next morning try to clean up some of that trash and debris. But it's impossible to clean up completely. But the reason we're here today is because now that he wants his beer and wine license permit, be he says he's willing to stop holding these raves. Finally -- he's not doing it for our benefit, he's doing it for his benefit. This is why we're here. We're fed one this whole situation.
>> as to the large gatherings, I heard the noise complaint, lack of parking, hours. So is your request that there be no large concert to this nature or that they be better operating.
>> he's had daytime events out there. When the rodeo comes in he has a bunch of horse people with their it trailers that park on his property. The property is loaded with horse trailers and horses. They really don't create a problem. As a matter of fact, we had a wagon train ride here this last rodeo that they had. It's great to see thing like that. He has had some kind of a motorcycle rally out there last year, I believe. The folks -- they had bands out there during the day, early evening that you can play music, you can relate to. That hasn't been a problem. When I has normal events, that has not been a problem for us. But when he has all these all night raves, we're fed up with it.
>> any other questions --
>> they mentioned some things earlier that I think still haven't been brought out with when they gave their testimony on last Tuesday. And before we conclude I will like to make sure that they are able to bring other things out. But not now. I'm just saying before the testimony concludes.
>> and I would love to vacate this seat so they can do that. I want to comment on the venue for may 12. If you go to the myspace account, it is still saying the j. Lorraine ranch. It is only when you go to his web page and you look for it you will see it's changed to a club downtown and some children are saying I'll be there. And they'll see lght pictures of people and their comments about how they will be be attending and how many will be there.
>> any questions?
>> I have a question. I'm trying to get the list. There is clearly a confirmed problem with noise. There is a possible problem with alcohol and drug use by marines. That's a suspected issue. A sanitation issue, a parking issue, and an hours of operation issue.
>> there's one thing I failed to bring up. His facility, he has an event permit, the way I understand, and when he has a these large gatherings, I don't think he's complying with his event permit. I'm not real fwam the event permit. I've heard it before and he can only have x number of people for so many hours. And there's a criteria for that. And I'm not real familiar with that, but I feel that he has for the been complying with the permit that he supposedly has.
>> the question I have is kind of playing devil's advocate here because I used to be a restaurant owner, and used to be a promoter of events like this, not in Texas, though. Because of his pursuit after beer and liquor license -- and I'm just throwing this out. In some respect, going legitimate by getting a liquor license may help, at least on the unconfirmed issue be of inappropriate alcohol and drug use because he won't be able to have minors in the sven use any longer -- venue any longer.
>> well, that's the law, but will that in real life happen?
>> well, when a sheriff's deputy comes out or the tabc comes out, they'll have teeth, they'll have a pretty big hammer to bring down. So at least on that issue, the liquor license might be helpful. It still doesn't help you on the noise.
>> we've considered that. We've made a determination that as far as we're concerned, if he can't handle his business when we've approached hiem hymn and asked him to kind of reduce the raves down and he hasn't paid any attention to us, why should he pay any attention to us if he gets a beer and wine permit?
>> because it's a criminal prosecution for violations. But I'm just throwing out there for consideration. It still doesn't help on the sanitation, the parking and the noise. And that we'll have to look at mass gatherings statutes. That's our best hammer in the county for looking at that as well as septic regulations.
>> thank you. Yes?
>> I'm (indiscernible).
>> [inaudible - no mic]. I'm just here to say that we're here to work with the sheriff's department. We have a great Commissioner, Ron Davis, who has always worked with us 100%. And judge Biscoe's office and his administrative assistant. I think we're going in the right direction. We need you to focus on our children. And hopefully we can also work together to promote a good community. And we live in a great country an we need to give these children a chance to experience what we have experienced in life. And I just do not want to lose a life. A child. So that is my main purpose. And I hope that we're all going to get together and work for this goal. Thank you very much.
>> yes, sir? On the end here?
>> actually, mr. Richards is the owner of the property. Do you want to speak first? Ors.
>> yes, I would, that would be fine.
>> your name, please.
>> my name is george t. Riches. I'm the owner of j. Lorraine. It is 15 acres in east Austin Travis County right next to an asphalt plant right now. J. Lorraine -- I have my sales tax permit as an amusement park. The reason why it's called amusement park is the intent of j. Lorraine was to be be rent bed out for weddings, birthdays, graduations and other special events. I have horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, outdoor movie theater, outdoor stage. I have a client from san marcos named steve valdez who is a music promoter.
>> what's his last name?
>> valdez. And he promoted several events a year, three or four events a year that would attract mail three to five hundred people. And the source of the loud music. And I compelled the promoter to keep these things under control. On April 23rd, 2007, I had meeting with the park springs homeowners association and some of my neighbors. They expressed to me the concern of how the music had bothered them. And I heard them loudly. I told them at that meeting I would not longer offer j. Lorraine as a venue for these music events promoted by steve. On the 24th of April I met with the promoter in san marcos and I told steve that I would no longer offer j. Lorraine as a venue for his events. J. Lorraine's intent is for community events, weddings --
>> when did you do that?
>> I did that on the 24sth, a day after I had a meeting with the homeowners association.
>> of April?
>> so you're saying today that as of now that there will not be rave type events on your property.
>> because you won't lease it out for that purpose.
>> so you'll go back to the other types of events that you have had, the weddings, birth days, horse is shoes, etcetera.
>> so all these events are outside?
>> yes, sir.
>> when it's a wedding it's outside too.
>> yes, your honor.
>> how many structures do you have at that location?
>> there's probably about 12.
>> 12 existing structures.
>> and generally they're just -- I guess most people who come out there think it's a movie set. It looks like a western town. They think it's -- actually, nine out of 10 people say they'd film a movie here, so there's some facades, but some are just freestanding buildings.
>> have you been granted a license to operate (indiscernible).
>> you have? When did that expire or has it expired?
>> in other words, it was a construction permit and it was supposed to -- just give me a little --
>> I do have a note where the Travis County natural resource and transportation, they came out and found that the final inspection on my septic system was not completed. I do have a note here where I called the installer, a septic --
>> bill sweeney. He's with a septic is their company. I called bill to do a final inspection on 9-18 '06 at 3:45 p.m. And he said he would do the inspection and contact be the county. And yesterday when I got this notice, I took a copy of my note here and this notice to his office. He wasn't in at the time to do that final inspection.
>> so that was done when?
>> I do nt to note that -- I have a note here when I called bill on 9-18 of '06 and I asked him to do the final inspection and he said that he would do it and that he would contact the county.
>> I heard earlier testimony that there's maybe a conflict on the new location as far as where you're holding this may 12th event, but something still out on myspace.com that suggests you're still having it at this location. Is that true?
>> yes, but it's not on my event calendar. These events will not be taking place at j. Lorraine.
>> you are willing to put that in writing in addition to saying that today?
>> yes, your honor.
>> manned making that available to -- and making that available to residents out there?
>> yes, your honor.
>> there are other areas where deficiencies have been called to our attention, so we need to get with you not today, but soon after today and address those one by one, let you know what needs to be done and get a commitment to do them. But the purpose for residents coming today was really to complain about the mass gatherings, right? And if there will not be be any more, at least that solves that noise, parking problem for raves. Then the question is whether you are meeting the requirements of the other permits that you have received.
>> [one moment, please, for change in captioners] .
>> whether large gatherings or not. So we have to get with the owners and address those. To the ec dent residents want to know about them, it's a matter of public record anyway. We will reduce that to writing anyway and be happy to share that. My question is whether we need to hear a lot more about this. The main problem has been fixed, it seems to me. Mr. Richards is on record and will give us further commitments in writing, in instruments that we will draw up and share with residents also. And these are your neighbors as well as being constituent constituents of ours. So we all have, seems to me, a great interest in trying to get this behind us and leave them back there. Everybody seems to say that the events that took place before the mass gatherings occurred were compatible with the neighborhood expectations and the other piece with the neighborhood. Right ?
>> my question for mr. Richards is when can you have that in writing to make sure that we have the release factor in place where by people can leave here with the ease of mind along with the court, all the other departments that are here. Have it in writing.
>> I think we ought to get our county attorney to draft an appropriate document and share that with mr. Richards am you richards. And you may want to get advice on that yourself. So we have something that we can relies on and enforce if necessary. Mr. Richards seems to be genuine. I am assume fñg he gives us his word, he will keep us. But I have learned from lawyers that the legal document that ken force that is a good idea.
>> judge, one last comment.
>> go ahead.
>> mr. Has a disarm disarming way about him. When he says large gather gatherings, he says a couple hundred people. My understanding from the last thing held on the 21st there were 700 people out there. And we also understand that this raid that was going to be hold on may 12, they invited 2500 people. Whether that is true, I don't know.
>> the may 12 raid will not occur am we. We have the sheriff's department representatives here listening and the world.
>> and the fire marshal.
>> I think they advertised the June 30 event out there that will also not occur.
>> I'd like to see something in writing. I would feel more comfortable, in richards.
>> I will give it to the county attorney or just type up a statement.
>> you have not' thorized ar promoted to have a rave concert on may 12 in writing.
>> you want that in writing ?
>> you have not authorized the may 12 concert in writing.
>> I have not. Nor verbal.
>> immediately after leaving today, you will confirm with the promoter what you have told the court.
>> oh, yes.
>> and the world on television.
>> yes. I have already told him that you know, on April 24 I say I would not offer j loraine for his events.
>> all right. In the permits there are representations asked of the number of patrons. And those are supposed to be complied with. And so we need so make sure there is a good an understanding of those requirements and commitants. And when they are exceeded, then there are certain things that we can do. And so. Everybody will know what they are. We can at least public size that. What I'm saying. So there is additional work to be done but luckily, the future of rave events on the this property is a dead one. That is based on the owner. And legally, promoters are not authority I'd to use mr. Richard's property without his authorization. What we want is basically a document this which mr. Richards says the same thing in writing that he says said today. Our county attorney's office is good and thorough. It will take ten days to two weeks to do this right. John is saying yes. Because we need to get mr. Richard a copy of it, get him to get whatever assistance he needs. All of us can rest assured, based on today's discussion, the may 12 raves and thereafter will not occur on your property.
>> absolutely not.
>> thank you.
>> thank you.
>> the other departments, I want to make sure that those deficiencies, variances as far as compliance is concerned, the requirements under permit process are adhered to. So the departments that are here today, please get with mr. Richards to make sure that that process begins today to make sure that compliance on existing facilities that he has out there is in compliance. Want to make sure that happens.
>> can I ask mr. Richards to please contact the promoter to have the my space account taken down. Because that is a direct source to the children. Many of them will still look at that and will believe that the event is still going on may 12 and will come out there. So we need to get that--
>> I'll ask mr. Richards to ask the promoter not to advertise that a rave event will take place on his property.
>> as he is telling the court today.
>> will you agree to do that that?
>> your honor, does this court with the ruling today, what has just been said, is it still going to go ahead and allow him to have the beer, wine and liquor license? That was another concern of ours.
>> that is an entirely different process and procedure.
>> I think as mr. Olivera said we have already contacted well over 50 signatures in the neighborhood saying we do not want that type of establish am in our area. We have also contacted the housing areas going up. Carriage hills, bells farm--
>> the answer is--
>> there is a public hearing the judge is not authorized to deal with this from the commission point.
>> or another judge. I may well have to recuse myself based on what has taken place today.
>> it may be someone else. Anyway, it's is separate setting and comes in the format of a public hearing. That request and the application for mr. Richards facilities.
>> and the community would be able to come to those meet.
>> if it's a public hearing.
>> thank you.
>> yes, ma'am.
>> thank you.
>> my own recommendation would be that mr. Richards reduced to writing a description of what he has in mind, meet with the residents to discuss that, and see if some sort of compromise can be reached. If not, it would go to a contested hearing where testimony is presented and basically the hearings officer makes a ruling one way or the other. That is how that goes. Okay? Yes, sir.
>> may I have an opportunity to speak in my name is casey bolt and I would appreciate the opportunity to speak before you judge and the Commissioners. I have heard testimony today most of it very factual on these raves. As you pointed out, sir, the solution has been done. They are over. I am an events coordinator. I have coordinate the several events out of the j loraine ghost town which included a foundation benefit for the jw rock foundation where we raised some 800 that every christmas -- 1800 christmas that every christmas we provides families with gift certificates from walmart and heb, presents for the kids. That would not have been possible without a foundation drive like we did out at the goes town. I mean rñrb ghost town. I mean certainly, I can, I live in the area. I have lived up there for 20 years. I moved out there like most of these people, to get out of Austin. Here it comes. I knew it was going to. Where else is Austin going to to build it's a reality. Where we had a nice peaceful serene area we have housing popping up like like crops. I understand it. If I want to move away, I will again. I am not saying these folks should be forced to listen the music early in the mork. I wouldn't--in the morning. I wouldn't. As you pointed out that situation is over with. However, there are things that have taken place that are pen pen--beneficial to the communitilve the events we held, whee had security and left fire lanes open for the e ms and deputy sheriffs to come out, who have come out on many occasions with no problems. We have enthem to please come in and partake of the activities and again, I am, I can certainly relate to ms. Austin and her child. There is going to be, anywhere you look, my space as far as I know is not paid for by george richards or gosetown or anybody people can post anything they want to there. That is where parental supervision comes into play, where your children are at 13, 14, 15 years old, there's always going to be a venue for them to get off to if they are allowed to. I mean, that they want to this rave, that is one place they could have gone if they went there. There's been a lot of accusations as far as drug use, alcohol use. I went to a rave, as long as I could take it. I can't handle that music. I went there. I didn't see any of that activity. I saw a bunch of young kids having a good time. I figured if they are going to do it somewhere, this isn't a bad place. However, I didn't live, I live five miles from there. I didn't hear it. I couldn't have handled it. It's, the music it's a hard, deep base and constant. And it drove my crazy. I could stay about an hour and had to leave.
>> your point is that when you take the raves out of the picture, there have been other events that are beneficial, positive.
>> very beneficial. In fact, the end of this month we are planning a trading days at the j loraine where people from the community can bring all the stuff in their garage they don't want anymore that people can come and buy and hopefully create a community activity going on there. I have been down there to horse shoe tournaments where these guys are throwing 65, 70 percent ringers. How do they do that? This guy has a horse shoe in the backyard before dinner he he goes out and practices a couple. There are activities out there that are whole some, good for the the community and everybody. Mr. Eckhardt pointed out, I know this isn't a hearing for the beer and wine situation. However, not only does that allow our deputies to regulate, it also regulates the hour of operation. Ta b c is really particular about how long you are going to keep your facility open. These people are protesting a beer and win, one of the reasons you have these raves is for income. He has an investment in the property and built most of it by hand. He has an investment and needed a return so he can billed billed--build fences and do improvements and address the issues of concern mr. Davis has brought out. This rave, it was a customer customer. It provides him with an income. Not much. Without, you know, a beer and win, with a beer and win license, he no longer needs that.
>> that is another matter.
>> sir, I heard it brought up more than once this morning.
>> too many times.
>> too many times. I don't think I could let it government I'm going to to-- to--het it--let it go. I just want to give you the other side of the story.
>> my an understanding based on today's discussion is that waives will not occur at at--raves will not occur at this site in the future. That does not effect the on the events that have been there.
>> that is my an understanding.
>> that is my an understanding.
>> as you pointed out, judge problem . It is over. It is done.
>> if in fact the commitment is kept. Is what the residents worry about.
>> there are certain requirements that still need to be done.
>> those are issues that can be addressed, sir.
>> that is what I'm saying. In other words, that is still open.
>> I don't want to shut the door on the requirements that we expect under the permit----
>> as any facility open for business. You would require the same standards.
>> certainly. That is understandable.
>> okay. Thank you.
>> I can appreciate. Like I said, those are issues, septic, parking, those are issues that can be addressed.
>> right thank you.
>> thank you. Any questions that I can answer for you folks ?
>> thank you.
>> thank you.
>> I think everybody here on this item has had an opportunity to speak. We'll get those documents together and I think we have phone numbers for most of you. We'll make sure to give you a opportunity the review them. On the beer wine license application, I do recommend that you all sit down, try to work it out. If not, that is what contested hearings are for. Those will be posted differently and handled differently pursuant to a different law. Okay? Thank you all very much for coming down. I think today's meeting has been productive.
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Last Modified: Wednesday, May 9, 2007, 8:00 AM