Des Plaines' Fountain Blue withdraws tent request
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 8:38 AM
DES PLAINES -- Almost three weeks after seeking permission to keep a controversial outdoor banquet tent, the owner of the Fountain Blue in Des Plaines has withdrawn his request, saying he determined it wouldn't be "worthwhile financially or practically."
City officials say they received a letter Monday from Fountain Blue owner Tom Diamond, who asked to withdraw an application for a conditional use for the tent.
That means the 6,000-square-foot Lions Gate Pavilion tent that has sat on the banquet hall's property at 2300 Mannheim Road for three years will have to come down.
The move by Fountain Blue reverses course with its recent public relations push to gain support for the tent despite the tent's rejection in June by the city council. The PR campaign included the hiring of a spokesman and the publication of a full-page ad in Nov. 7 editions of the Daily Herald, in which Diamond asked Des Plaines community members for their future support for the tent.
One concession Diamond made in his Nov. 7 permit application with the city was agreeing to forgo the playing of amplified music throughout the tent in response to complaints from neighbors about excessive noise.
But it was clear Diamond was still facing an uphill battle.
After Fountain Blue resubmitted its application, Bill Dillon, a resident who has spoken on behalf of a group of neighbors opposed to the tent, said that residents planned to fight the tent and win "a second and final time." Dillon argued that even without amplified music, crowd noise would still emanate from the tent.
Indeed, it appears public outcry may have contributed to Diamond's decision to withdraw the permit application.
"Based upon a review of statements made to the press prior to any public hearing, and evidence, and any recommendation by your department, the Fountain Blue has determined that pursuing the new application for conditional use is not worthwhile financially or practically," Diamond wrote in a Nov. 27 letter to city officials.
Fountain Blue spokesman Collin Corbett said Diamond wasn't available for further comment Wednesday night. He did confirm that Fountain Blue will be taking the tent down.
An agreement drawn up between the city and Fountain Blue last summer stipulates the tent must be taken down by Jan. 31, city officials said. That agreement allowed Fountain Blue to host already-scheduled events in the tent through Nov. 9, and gave owners permission to reapply for a permit, while agreeing not to sue the city for the council's 5-3 rejection of a permit extension.
On Wednesday, Dillon said he and other residents are thrilled that the tent will be coming down, three years after it was installed.
"Our two goals have been peace and quiet and protecting our property values," Dillon said. "We're looking forward to enjoying our backyards this summer."