Festival Latino returns to Snowdoun with live music, rodeo, residents voice concerns

Updated: Aug. 7, 2019 at 8:07 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Snowdoun residents are sounding the alarm after they learned a commercial event is returning to their neighborhood.

The quiet community was rocked on July 14 when Festival Latino, featuring multiple artists and bull riding, kicked off on a stretch of land on Snowdoun Chambers Road that backs up to homes and farms.

“Until well after midnight our community of Snowdoun was subjected to a disturbance like nothing we’ve ever endured before,” stated Snowdoun resident Mike Crutchfield. " It was announcing, screaming, hollering, bright lights and heavy traffic. One lady said it traumatized her cattle so badly, they were still skittish days later."

Now neighbors have learned, it’s coming back this Sunday. Tickets are being sold online for nearly $50 per person, including fees.

As heavy marketing hit social media, neighbors petitioned the Montgomery County Commission and City Council to help.

The land is zoned for agriculture, not commerce. Organizers had a license for the event in July - but not this weekend. The other issue: the entrance is in the city police jurisdiction - the remainder of the land is in the county.

During the Montgomery City Council meeting on Tuesday, Crutchfield asked for help. Mayor Todd Strange said the city asked the county commission to pass a resolution that would allow their officers to work with the sheriff on preventative measures leading up to the event. The measure was declined.

Strange said this leaves the city in a reactive posture, citing his disappointment in the commission’s effort.

“The best we can do is act as a deterrent,” he said. “If they do something within the police jurisdiction then we will have authority to respond. If it’s outside the police jurisdiction, the sheriff would have that authority to do a something similar.”

Organizers don’t have a liquor license for this event, Strange said they would be “brown bagging” their alcohol, citing ABC agents will also be on hand for enforcement.

“That’s the best we can do,” said Strange. “They haven’t violated any of the zonings until they have the event.”

Strange also read a letter the city directed to Festival Latino organizers about the zoning issues, confirming they received the correspondence.

“It says, ‘It’s been brought to our attention to have a Festival Latino on a regular basis on the property located on 1890 Snowdoun Chambers Road,’" the mayor read during the Council meeting. “'The property is zoned AGR 1 - General Agriculture. This office allowed a one day special event for this purpose on July 14, 2019. However AGR-1 does not allow for the commercial use of this type of event on a regular basis. In order to have this on a regular basis you will need to find a property zoned ‘commercial.’"

WSFA 12 News visited the local address listed on the marketing materials on Troy Highway where organizers operate the restaurant, La Taquiza. An event organizer declined to speak on camera but said they didn’t need a license because it was a private event. As for noise concerns, he stated an audio monitor would be on the premises Sunday to help avoid disturbances. The organizer referred WSFA 12 News to his attorney, who hasn’t returned our call.

Copyright 2019 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.