In light of the half-truths and outright lies being circulated, I feel it is the public’s right to know about the violation by the Rockaway Beach Chamber of Commerce of its conditional-use permit to use the Rockaway Beach Wayside for a recent musical event.
As one of those conditions, the City of Rockaway Beach prohibits vendors from driving stakes into the wayside’s asphalt to secure their tents. This restriction was clearly noted on the permit that the Chamber of Commerce obtained from the city.
On the day before the event, a few members of the Chamber contacted the Public Works Department to request permission to drive spikes to anchor their tent. The answer was no; the tent would have to be secured in some other manner. The Chamber then asked the mayor and again was told no.
In violation of the permit and the instructions of the mayor and the Public Works director, the Chamber proceeded to drive 19 spikes into the asphalt, damaging its surface extensively.
Despite the provisions of the conditional-use permit and orders from public officials, the Chamber of Commerce, led by president Dave Farr and ably assisted by Kristine Hayes, Rick Cheek and Jack Brownlee, blatantly ignored those directives and drove the spikes. One of Team Rockaway’s council hopefuls, Rodney Breazile, was observed driving one of the spikes.
The Chamber subsequently attempted to portray the city as the “bad guy” and appears to find the situation humorous. What about the vendors the Chamber sub-leased space to during the event? Had they come to the Chamber and asked for permission to stake down their tents, would they have been allowed to do so, or would they have been told no?
This is a clear instance of the Chamber wanting two sets of rules – one for it and one for everyone else.
Public tax dollars maintain the Wayside. It is difficult for the city to deal with an entity that thumbs its nose at city policies and department heads. If someone put 19 spikes into your driveway without permission, how would you feel about it?
The Rockaway Beach Wayside belongs to all local citizens. Deliberate damage done to it, or to any other property or equipment owned by the public, is not a laughing matter. However, the Chamber appears to disagree.