Welcome to the Woodstock - Preservation Archives
Dedicated to the Historic Preservation of the Site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival

Hurd & West Shore Rds
Sullivan County
Bethel  NY


10 March, 2004


FROM: The Woodstock Preservation Alliance

The Woodstock Preservation Alliance which supports the development of the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, however also supports the historic preservation of the 38 acres 1969 Woodstock Festival site in its natural state [with exception of a permanent stage in the bowl] within the Bethel Woods complex, is releasing this statement regarding the Planning Board Hearing held on March 9, 2004. As part of the hearing process that would gather public comments for consideration of the Special Use Permit approval for Bethel Woods, we preservationists are disappointed that the people of Bethel were not given the opportunity to hear the full statements regarding the historic preservation of this site, during the meeting. Although with great hesitation from the Board, the preservationists were given their rights to speak, important information that would allow the good people of Bethel and Sullivan County to make informed decisions on their stand with the current Gerry Foundation development plans was cut short due to speaker time limits set through protocol. Although, one cannot argue with set protocols, such important information as that from one of the GF contracted experts from the Draft EIS citing problems with current plans and its implications on best practices for historic preservation, was rushed and its ability to educate those in attendance was thwarted. Unfortunately, though cleared by the Town of Bethel prior to the Hearing, the playing of the audio statement from Woodstock co-creator and promoter Artie Kornfeld was revoked. When preservationist Joanne Hague of Blakely PA identified herself as a preservationist, the Chairman told her that she should submit her materials to the Board and that the CD ( Mr. Kornfeld's statement ) would not be heard as they did not have all night. It is regrettable that this change was never expressed to the WPA in response to being forthcoming with our intentions to the Bethel Town Supervisor and an affirmative response from the Town office prior to the hearing.

Brad Littleproud (Toronto, Canada) of the preservationist movement, who was not in attendance at the Hearing, called a member of the planning board to discuss the issues arising from the hearing. That is, what was promised and what was delivered as far as being able to present our statements, in particular the revoking of the Kornfeld statement. It can be said that the Planning Board stands firm that everyone had a chance to be heard, and that due to the amount of business to be completed, time limits were enforced on public comments. Given the gravity of the preservation issues and their impact on Bethel Woods project, we preservationists who are not unfamiliar with the stonewalling of our controversial opinions, have agreed to disagree with the Town Planning Board's actions.

Having anticipated such possible "special attention and actions" in response to the preservation cause and views, the Woodstock Preservation Alliance made all statements available on our website. Interested parties can come, view, download and transmit all statements and files, including Mr. Kornfeld's audio statement easily at www.thewoodstockspirit.org. It was felt that Bethel and Sullivan County had the right to access to these materials that otherwise would be, and was made, unavailable to them.

In summary, the Woodstock preservationists have had a long history of obstacles. What transpired at the Planning Board hearing is no different, protocol or not. There continues to be a need to address our continued issues of possible transgressions in best practices of historic preservation. Those being issues pertaining to the construction of new buildings on historic property. That will be taken up with State Historic Preservation Office as well as exploration of a possible Section 106 review in the future. Bethel takes the ideal of due process very seriously, and so do we. And we will exercise our right to that due process even in the face of road blocks that are set up. We want what's best for Bethel and Sullivan County too, no matter how other may perceive it. We also want what's best for the broader community and for a place of global importance.

The Woodstock Preservation Alliance
Dedicated to the Historic Preservation of the Site Of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Fair