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Permit for campground use held up Music festivals concern officials

An application for a special-use permit to operate Camp Aloha as a family-oriented campground ran into a snag during the Town of Wales work session Tuesday.

Larry Galbo, who purchased the 100-plus-acre former Camp Fire campgrounds at auction last year, plans to renovate the campgrounds for weddings, reunions and other gatherings.

But it is his vision for music festivals that now has town officials concerned.

Jeffrey Markello, Galbo's attorney, told the board his client would like to see crowds of 2,000 to 2,500 at music festivals and claims he has enough parking to support such a crowd.

Portable toilets could be brought in for these events, said Galbo, who promised no traffic bottlenecks on Route 20A, with parking farther into the campground to avoid backups.

However, the crowd size concerned town officials.

"The issue needs more work," Town Attorney Ron Bennett said. "We need to determine the number of people day to day that will use the park and then the number allowed for special events. A mass gathering is totally different than a campground."

Supervisor Rickey Venditti noted the size of such festivals would be in contrast to a town that has a population of less than 3,000.

"We are concerned with parking and traffic," he said. "The problem is you want to open this campsite, not just as a campground. We cannot give a blank check for huge events yet."
After Bennett pointed to the project's expanded scope, Markello said he would get back to the board later with a site plan.

In other business:

* Officials discussed conditions for a special-use permit required for Kenneglenn Nature Preserve to operate an office on-site with four staff. Among them: marking restrictions along a winding gravel driveway, moving a sign, garbage in secured containers and hours of operation between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

* Board members discussed a proposal to hire an off-duty police officer or an assistant constable to assist or relieve the current constable on duty at the town's courthouse. Venditti said he will consult the town bookkeeper to determine if there is enough funding in the budget.

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