More Dave Chappelle summer shows OK’d at Wirrig Pavilion
- Published: April 29, 2022
Another summer of outdoor shows presented by Dave Chappelle at the Wirrig family pavilion got the green light Thursday evening, April 28, when the Miami Township Board of Zoning Appeals, or BZA, voted to approve a temporary conditional use request by property owner Steve Wirrig.
In a vote of 4-0, with one member absent, the BZA placed one condition on the proposed series of performances — that there be no more than three shows per week, up to a maximum, of 24 total, from May 26 through Sept. 5. The application had sought up to four shows a week, at the same total, and for the same period of time.
A BZA decision was necessary because the ticketed shows are a commercial activity, and the land, located between U.S. 68 North and Meredith Road, just north of Yellow Springs, is zoned for agricultural use, according to Miami Township Zoning Inspector Richard Zopf.
The board’s favorable vote prompted extended applause from the show’s supporters who attended the hearing.
“I’m elated,” Wirrig said afterward. “I’m very proud and appreciative of the support.”
Noting that two of the BZA members voting yes Thursday night had voted in September against the majority decision regarding his last request for an extended weekend of performances in October, Wirrig said of the previous dissenters, “They heard us. They adapted.”
“It’s truly the best thing I could have expected from the township,” he said.
Support for the performances dominated testimony during the three-hour-and-15-minute meeting, 40 minutes of which were spent with the BZA members deliberating in executive session.
The meeting room of the Miami Township Fire-Rescue station didn’t quite reach its 67-person capacity, but came close, with only a handful of seats unfilled. Among those in attendance were Greene County Prosecutor David Hayes, Miami Township Trustee Marilyn Moir, representatives of various media outlets, Wirrig and his attorney, David Montgomery.
In addition to Wirrig and Montgomery, 17 people offered testimony. All but one expressed support for the shows, citing economic, cultural and mental health benefits from the original series of performances that went through the summer of 2020 and continued briefly in spring 2021. During that time, locally based Chappelle welcomed a slate of high-profile comedians, musicians and celebrities to the Wirrig Pavilion stage.
The lone opposition Thursday night, a neighbor of the pavilion property, said she could live with anything as long as she knows it’s temporary, but that litter had been a problem, her driveway had become a turn-around for concert-goers, two of her chickens had been hit and killed and the quality of her summer evenings was changed on show nights.
In addition to the spoken testimony, 35 written statements came in before the hearing, according to Zoning Inspector Zopf, who said that all but three or four, at least two from the same household, supported the shows.
The original performances took place during the height of the pandemic, and they began in response to the performance limitations that came with the lockdown. With the worst of the pandemic apparently behind us, the new request was grounded in positive outcomes that previously occurred, as cited in an economic impact study commissioned by Chappelle and completed by the Cleveland-based Silverlode Consulting firm.
Silverlode’s analysis, shared with the BZA members, lists an impact of more than $11 million in the state, $9 million in the region, $6 million in Greene County and $4 million in the 45387 ZIP code.
Several of the local residents testifying Thursday are local business owners who said the added business that came in association with the previous shows was vital in helping them stay afloat during the pandemic, but they continue to struggle, and another summer of performances would give them a needed boost.
The positive economic impact cited in the Silverlode analysis prompted the BZA’s approval, board member Barbara Krabec said after the vote.
“The economic benefit affects so many more people in the area,” Krabec said. “We had to go for the greater good.”
For more details about Thursday night’s hearing, see the May 5 print edition of the YS News.