The LLC that owns and operates Lost Lakes Amphitheater and Water Park has now hired metro attorney Eric Groves to help them oppose a sudden proposal introduced last week, May 16 in the Oklahoma City Council.
Less than 30 business days after an agreement was inked by the council, Councilman John Pettis proposed changes that could derail plans and cause financial harm to the owner.
Free Press asked Groves what their response was to the city trying to make a shift in the agreement.
“The city is not making a shift. Councilman Pettis is trying to get the city to make a shift,” said Groves. “But that’s not going to occur.”
The ordinance change introduced by Ward 7 Councilman John Pettis would limit the venue to three concerts per year on Fridays, Saturdays and legal holidays only, shutting down at 11 p.m.
Since Lost Lakes is in Pettis’ ward, he has been in on the yearlong negotiations between the owners and the city, made the motion to approve and voted for the agreement in April.
Roger Skeen is a principal member of the Lost Lakes Development LLC with his son, Garrett Skeen. They both conduct day-to-day operations of the venue.
The LLC owns the central part of the venue and leases a larger portion on both sides of the Oklahoma River from the city through the Riverfront Redevelopment Authority, a public trust.
A Free Press story last week was the first to get Roger Skeen’s reaction to the proposed changes.
We talked with him the afternoon after the amendment was introduced and he seemed flummoxed by the action.
“They kept coming back to talking about music festivals, music festivals, music festivals,” Skeen said about his many meetings with city staff.
Because the Skeens were counting on the official agreement voted in unanimously by the council April 11, they signed contracts with promoters for concerts and music festivals.
“They told us we could do it and we waited to implement all the contracts until we got the city’s blessing,” said Garrett Skeen. “We signed all the contracts and now they’re trying to take it away. Which puts us financially at risk.”
The agreed establishment of a larger PUD (planned unit development) that set up special ordinances for the park specifically says the LLC does not have to apply for permits for each concert or limit the number.
But Pettis insists that he is not trying to shut down concerts at the Lost Lakes Amphitheater in east Oklahoma City on the Oklahoma River.
Instead, the Oklahoma City Ward 7 Councilman only wants to limit how close to a nearby neighborhood concerts are being held.
“I just want to give the neighborhood some relief,” Pettis told Free Press Tuesday morning in city hall.
“If they [the Skeens] would just read they could tell that they can have as many concerts as they want in tract 5,” said Pettis.
Tract 5, mostly unimproved land of the PUD, is on the opposite side of the river from the original and best-developed part of the park where the amphitheater is located.
Pettis became agitated when pressed about whether he wants to shut down concerts completely at the venue saying that’s not what his latest proposal calls for.
“They need to R-E-A-D, read!”