The prospect of a four-day music festival at Haulover Park prompts fears of traffic snarls, parking woes in neighboring Bal Harbour.
By Rodolfo Roman
Special to the Herald
Bal Harbour says a four-day music festival planned for nearby Haulover Beach Park could bring an overwhelming burden to the village and surrounding areas.
At a recent meeting, the Village Council voted 4-1 to oppose permits for large-scale special events at the county-run park, citing traffic and noise disturbance. Councilwoman Patricia Cohen voted against the resolution.
The Funkshion festival will bring acts such as the house band Swedish House Mafia. It’s organized by Satsky & Gefter and C3 Productions, and would take place from March 21-24.
Bal Harbour resident Brian Mulheren said the event would bring major problems to the small village.
“We have had concerts and we had major problems,” he said. “Nobody could move. Our services were affected. If there is a medical emergency how are they going to get here.”
The municipalities of Sunny Isles Beach and Surfside may also consider similar resolutions, said Jay Smith, Bal Harbour’s community outreach director.
Miami-Dade County officials would need to sign off on the permit, which asks for permission to hold an event that would draw an expected 25,000 people.
Doris V. Howe, a spokeswoman for the county parks department, said a complete application package for the event hasn’t been received yet.
“There are too many unknowns at this stage to gauge potential logistics, crowd size, production size, safety issues, and the like,” she said. “It’s too premature to make those assessments, and we will not engage the process before receipt and review of a permit package from any interested party.”
Bal Harbour council members suggested the concert be moved somewhere away from the village, such as Tropical Park in South Miami-Dade.
Last year, the event was held in Miami Beach. However, organizers felt Haulover, which is immediately north of Bal Harbour, would allow more room for the event.
Promoters said they are aware of issues brought upon by the village and surrounding cities. They say they are willing to help alleviate any problems, and have developed a transportation plan that brings attendees by bus and water taxi instead of by car.
“That will significantly reduce traffic,” promoter Michael Satsky said. “As far as sound is concerned, the festival will fully comply with what the law calls for. Additionally, our festival set up is designed so that sound does not face the cities.”
But Bal Harbour Police Chief Thomas Hunker said experience suggests that people will still drive to the village, causing parking and traffic woes.
“We’ve been through this situation before, and Collins Avenue was jammed,” he said.
Smith said the number of expected people will have an impact.
“The condominiums along Collins Avenue must become fortresses to prevent unauthorized parking and damage to their property by the thousands of pedestrians walking through the area,” he said.
Another issue the village faces is not having enough extra police officers from neighboring agencies because the same week there are several other events taking place such as the Ultra and Winter Music Conference festivals and the Dade County Fair.
The planning of the concert started last fall and promoters are spending between $1- and $2 million dollars said Satsky. Tickets are not on sale yet.
Resident Dan Holder said he doesn’t support the event being held at Haulover.
“The noise comes all the way down here the loud beat music and to put up with that for four days I think is asking an awful lot,” he said.
Satsky said organizers will put together an orderly event .
“I think that if the neighboring cities give us the benefit of the doubt, they will see that the festival organizers are sophisticated, professional and responsible individuals that want to do right by the community,” Satsky said.
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/02/2621620/bal-harbour-objects-to-funkshion.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy