BRENTWOOD -- As the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce and city officials plan the logistical elements of this summer's Brentwood CornFest, residents near the festival venue are voicing their safety and accessibility concerns.
Those who live in the nearby Coppergate development say that the Brentwood chamber, which sponsors the event, is not helping to alleviate their concerns about the festival, which typically draws 30,000 people. For the second consecutive year, the CornFest will be held at a 20-acre site near Technology Way, Brentwood Boulevard and Sand Creek Road.
"We would like to see some oversight with regards to our chamber of commerce," said Coppergate resident Marc Johnston, who had a security system installed in his home last year because of festival safety and security issues. "They are kind of bullying us right now. We don't feel like the communicating is getting through."
Representing Coppergate, Johnston told the Brentwood City Council at its Tuesday night meeting that the festival will close two of Coppergate's three community gates, impacting 120 housing units and more than 400 residents and causing a safety hazard. With two gate closures, Johnston noted that Coppergate residents are concerned about not being able to turn left on Sand Creek during that weekend to avoid festival traffic.
"We want to work with everybody, but we don't want to be walked over and we don't want to be bullied," he said.
Both city officials and chamber representatives vowed to deal with the complaints from Coppergate before a planned June 11 council meeting where traffic, circulation and land use impacts surrounding the festival will be addressed. At that meeting, the council will consider granting the chamber a temporary use permit for the festival on July 12-14.
"The city as well as CornFest Fund Inc. are working with the residents who have the concerns. We want to have all of the concerns resolved as soon as possible," CornFest co-chairman Dirk Zeigler said. "We want to make sure they are comfortable with everything that we want to do."
Last year, Coppergate residents expressed concerns over noise, crime and dust impacts to their neighborhood with the festival held in their backyards.
This week, the council approved an agreement with the chamber for city services related to the festival, including police presence and a substation on site, parks and recreation staffing for the entertainment and public works help with the street sweeping and solid waste removal. According to Zeigler, there will also be a first aid station and ambulance on site.
According to the document, the festival's hours on Friday night will be extended by 15 minutes to 10:45 p.m. Chamber officials predict that this will avoid less traffic jams on area roads as attendees exit the festival after the fireworks display.
Last year's festival saw a 40 percent attendance decrease from 2011 and some city leaders and longtime residents want it to return to downtown. In the past five years, the CornFest has taken place in four different locations.
Reach Paula King at 925-779-7174 or firstname.lastname@example.org.