Mudcat Café message #1726234 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #90420   Message #1726234
Posted By: GUEST,cah@lonewolf.com
24-Apr-06 - 03:43 PM
Thread Name: House Concerts a Federal Case
Subject: RE: House Concerts a Federal Case
Good thoughts on applying for a variance. The problem with that is that it's not clear what we need a variance for. We're hosting parties, not running a business -- the web site has been offline for 3 years so the only people who come are people who receive invitations and friends they invite. Hard to contend that inviting people via e-mail (which we were specifically allowed to do according to the Zoning Hearing Board) is "advertising" when we know everyone we're sending to. To say that this was a violation of some sort would mean that they'd have to ban mailing invitiations with a request for RSVP's too. There have been no parking violations. There is nothing in the zoning ordinance that specifies that a permit is required for a party or limits the number of parties per year per household. Yep, we chip in for the music, but football parties where people chip in for pizza and beer don't seem to violate the ordinance, so how is what we do different? And things that are clearly more commercial than house concerts don't generate cease and desist orders: Tupperware parties, scrapbooking, Mary Kay...the list could go on. I don't think anyone's trying to prohibit a kids party with a hired clown either. Two bat mitzvah parties for my daughters that had house concerts attached (and were much bigger than my usual house concerts) did not generate any complaints. Ditto for the neighbor's graduation party for his son with an amplified band in the back yard. So what exactly is the objection to our parties? The Township has said "stop doing that" but they still have not specified exactly what "that" we're supposed to stop.

See the blog for updated information. The Zoning Hearing Board was specifically instructed by their lawyer that they had to vote "yea" or "nay" on the cease and desist order: asking us to just take down the web and making it go away was not an option.

And thanks for all the really good ideas here. As you might imagine I'm busier than a one-armed paper hanger trying to keep up with all the discussion in various forums, but it's definitely worth the trouble: we've picked up some great ideas and some good leads from the collective out there in the ether.

Cindy Harris