Buck Hill plan to stage concerts approved

Several conditions placed on Burnsville attraction

Buck Hill will have a chance to prove that it can stage outdoor concerts for up to 4,500 people at the longtime Burnsville attraction without encountering some of the problems that concern some neighbors.

The Burnsville City Council approved on Tuesday a proposal that would allow Buck Hill to organize a concert as soon as this fall, as neighbors have voiced opposition to the plan based on noise, traffic and safety concerns.

Buck Hill pledged to work with the city and neighbors to mitigate the concerns as much as possible with many ideas having surfaced during the Planning Commission’s review process that ended with a unanimous approval Monday, July 10.

Among the ideas are posting “no parking” signs in nearby neighborhoods, making Buck Hill Road a one-way out south to County Road 46 after concerts to avoid traffic going into the neighborhoods and different stage alignments and noise mitigation efforts.

The interim use permit was approved to start this month and would expire Nov. 1, 2018, at which time the city would review the use and determine if it would be allowed to continue.

Buck Hill co-owner David Solner, an Apple Valley architect, said they might be able to organize an Octoberfest type concert this fall, but was unsure if there was enough time to stage such an event in 2017.

He said the ideal time for outdoor concerts using the hill as a natural amphitheater and a stage at the bottom of the hill would be July and August.

One of the conditions of the plan is that further noise study be conducted and mitigation measures taken so that the noise levels are within the acceptable range as defined by city code and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Buck Hill will be required to resubmit plans and another noise study that meets city and MPCA regulations prior to the first concert.

A noise study conducted by Buck Hill found that concert noise would exceed that of city and MPCA rules. The owners said at the July 10 meeting that mitigating sound can’t be done by moving the stage or erecting barriers.

Another condition of the plan is that concert music must conclude by 9:30 p.m. and lighting must end by 10 p.m.

Onsite and offsite parking is proposed to accommodate attendees including vendors, employees and volunteers. Buck Hill’s parking plan includes arrangements with Burnsville Center, Celebration Church and Zombie Boardshop to shuttle concertgoers in from their lots.

Temporary “no parking” signs would be placed in the neighborhoods at the discretion of the city’s public works department.

“Our intent is to continue to work with the neighborhood,” Solner said.

He said some of the issues raised at the meeting of people parking in the neighborhoods and crossing residential lawns to view fireworks from Buck Hill on the Fourth of July were news to him.

Neighbor Ted Olson suggested the Buck Hill erect a fence in the places where people are accessing Buck Hill from the neighborhoods.

Mayor Elizabeth Kautz suggested that neighbors communicate any future problems with Buck Hill.

“If we know about it, we can fix it,” Mayor Elizabeth Kautz said. “If we don’t know about it, we can’t fix it.”

Contact Tad Johnson at [email protected] or at twitter.com/editorTJ.