The Cutthroat Guest Ranch will be prohibited from providing any amplified acoustic entertainment moving forward.
That was the unanimous decision the Park County Commissioners came to at their meeting Nov. 10, rejecting a special use permit amendment requested by co-owners Courtney and Randel Hooper. County planning and zoning staff recommended the denial.
This prohibition will prevent the Hoopers from hosting their Songwriters Music Festival and any other amplified, outdoor musical acts for the public.
A substantial impact to neighboring surroundings and a transgression from the original intent of their SUP, were the most prevalent objections posed to the request.
“Is this use of the land compatible?,” Park County Commissioner Chairman Joe Tilden posed. “It’s not compatible anymore. The amendment, I believe, would not be compatible to the neighborhood.”
If the Hoopers can get an SUP approved specifically for the music festival, or come to an agreement with their neighbors, they will have grounds to pursue their desired activities, commissioners said. They declined to put in any new conditions on the Hoopers’ current SUP to allow for any of the requested uses.
“I don’t see any effort on the part of planning and zoning to see how this could be compatible,” the Hoopers’ attorney, Collin Simpson, said at the hearing. “There’s no recommendation from them to make it compatible.”
The amended SUP would have removed restrictions on the types of events that could occur and the time of day they would take place.
“The lack of specificity of the proposed language could result in more outdoor amplified entertainment events on the Hooper property, which are not necessarily consistent with a highway commercial business,” the staff report said.
However, it would have adhered the Hoopers to the county’s approved decibel level at their property line.
The commissioners approved the Hoopers’ original SUP based on an agreement they came to with their neighbors.
“We had an agreement that can never be changed apparently,” Simpson said.
Under the SUP, the Hoopers are allowed to hold private events of any size with amplified acoustic music at any frequency, but cannot do the same for a publicly held gathering outdoors. Non-amplified music is still allowed anywhere on the property.
Simpson criticized the amplification criterion especially, mentioning that a marching band or even bongo players could legally perform at the establishment and likely create more noise.
The Hoopers have said their business has grown much more than anticipated when first set up shop in late 2017. Because of such, they have pursued new avenues for their operation including weekly music acts and the music festival.
“I keep coming back to when this came before me (before) … whatever reason that is, it’s (agreement) not occurring anymore,” Lee Livingston, Park County commissioner, said.
Once the meeting commenced, Randel Hooper spoke to some of the neighbors in attendance.
“The olive branch is out there folks, it’s always been there,” he said.