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Fans happy to see their favorite band in return of live music at Frost Ridge

To say Blackberry Smoke rocked the house Saturday night at Frost Ridge might be misconstrued.

There are no reports of windows rattling in the homes of Frost Ridge neighbors.

In fact, a deputy assigned to monitor the decibel levels at Conlon Road and Oatka Trail Road said the noise level never went much above 60 decibels, well below the threshold of 100 set by Judge Robert C. Noonan when he issued an order a few days ago allowing the concert to take place.

The fact is, at the corner of Conlon and Oatka Trail, through most of Blackberry Smoke's set, the crickets were louder than the music.

Blackberry Smoke is billed as an up-and-coming, soon-to-be-big-stars Southern rock/outlaw country band, and if fame is measured by only a few hundred die-hard, rambunctious fans, Blackberry Smoke has already hit the big time.

They did rock the house and the fans raised the roof.

The band is Charlie Starr (lead vocals, guitar), Richard Turner (bass, vocals), Brit Turner (drums), Paul Jackson (guitar, vocals), and Brandon Still (keyboards).

A five-piece combo can make a lot of noise, and inside the Frost Ridge amphitheater at stage level, the band seemed no less loud than their show in the same venue a year ago.

A sound engineer familiar with the venue predicted before the show that the hill between Frost Ridge and the homes of Cleere and Collins (the two plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits against Frost Ridge) would absorb all of the treble and mid-range of the music, while bass tones would bend some and carry over the hill.

The crickets, he said, would be louder.

That certainly seemed to be the case.

In their lawsuit against Frost Ridge, the Cleeres have claimed that they can't sit outside their home on concert nights, the noise is so loud, and that when they try to go inside and close the windows, the walls shake because of the noise.

The Town of Le Roy is pursuing a parallel suit against Frost Ridge.

Both suits allege that live music at Frost Ridge violates local zoning laws, even though the campgrounds owners, Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell, received a previous ruling from the Zoning Board of Appeals that the use is an allowable, prior nonconforming use (grandfathered in).

While the Town of Le Roy is not suing the ZBA, the town board does not agree with that ruling, or does not find it valid. The Cleeres and Collins suit names the ZBA as a co-defendant. 

Delays in the process have prevented a hearing on whether the ZBA decision was filed with the town clerk prior to April 6. That hearing will be held Aug. 21. If it's determined that ZBA decision was filed prior to April 6, it could invalidate the the lawsuits against Frost Ridge on statute of limitations grounds.

Because of the delay of the hearing and the financial toll to Frost Ridge with five previous shows cancelled by court order, Noonan lifted the restraining order for the Blackberry Smoke concert, but barred alcohol sales.

The next scheduled show is at The Ridge NY is Phil Vassar and the Morgan Twins, Aug. 23.

The slide show below also includes photos of Chris Weaver Band, one of Saturday's opening acts.

AUDIO: A recording taken during the concert last night at the corner of Conlon and Oatka Trail (mp3).

A seat front-and-center for the Blackberry Smoke set was auctioned off and $375 was raised for the Le Roy Fire Department. 

The decibel reader employed by a deputy to monitor noise levels at Conlon and Oatka Trail roads.

Bob Harker
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Joined: Aug 20 2009

The pics you posted are distorted, Howard.

Lincoln DeCoursey
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Joined: Nov 5 2008

"a malignancy which cannot be allowed to metastasize any further."

Lincoln DeCoursey
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The Ridge venue is ideally situated for and well suited to concerts of this nature and magnitude. Carried out under scrutiny, this latest show provides clear evidence of the reasonableness of the shows, at least at their current scale.

LeRoy argues that it had no choice but to sue or be sued, that it cannot forgo enforcement of its zoning regulations. Yes, a regular concert series may be something a bit more than was going on prior to just a few years ago.

It's a shame that this business has to exist as a non-conforming use in a way that any natural expansion or growth is viewed as pushing of the boundaries.

It's time for a compromise solution that fixes the zoning disparity. For its part, the LeRoy board was apparently willing to deal but the Luetticke-Archbells had maybe been afraid of the process, fearing it was a trap. With LeRoy residents overwhelmingly supporting the Ridge and neighbor impact shown to have been exaggerated and overstated, I think now is the time for parties to come to the table.

Just because something is already in court doesn't mean it can't be settled out of court.

Brian Graziaplena
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I have to say that I don't understand the ruling to allow attendees to bring their own alcohol, but dis-allowing Frost Ridge to sell it??? If the action to allow Frost Ridge to operate again [if only temporarily] is to try and preclude Frost Ridge from going bust, it seems obvious that the sale of alcoholic beverages would be a sizable part of the venue's profitability.

Billie Owens
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Joined: Mar 23 2009

It's worth underscoring that The Ridge has 8 concerts per year.

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