The Fayette Citizen-News Page
Friday, July 30, 1999
Promoter hopes to have Senoia Raceway rocking

Coweta Editor

All Sean Owen wants to do is stage a music festival and raise some money for Habitat for Humanity.

But as the Tyrone resident is quickly learning, nothing comes easy when trying to interpret the complex rules of local government.

Owen plans to stage The Southern Fried Music Fest at the Senoia Raceway, just outside the city on Ga. Highway 16.

The festival features a mix of country, rock and blues music, along with Southern food and exhibits from local businesses.

Proceeds from the event will go to Habitat for Humanity and Owen is hoping to raise $100,000, which could build three or four homes for needy families. The Citizen Review is a sponsor of the event, providing free advertising.

But as owen tried to get permission from the Coweta County Commission, he encountered one road block after another.

“I tried to do it at the Coweta County Fairgrounds, but the commission told me no. Now that I'm all set up at the race track, they're threatening me with an injunction,” he said.

Owen has talked to Coweta County administrator Theron Gay several times about the festival and said Gay has told him the festival does not conform with the county's zoning.

“I've been working at this since February and this could bring thousands of dollars of tax revenue into the county,” he said.

Owen said he would be willing to work with the county on reaching a compromise, but said, “I honestly don't know what the problem is.”

With the festival less than a month away, Owen has already invested heavily in promotions and hopes a solution can be worked out.

“They don't have any grounds to shut it down,” he said.

But Gay believes the county does.

“The zoning for the racetrack allows special recreational events, but our opinion is this is a money making effort for the promoter. We don't have anything against Habitat for Humanity, but it just doesn't meet the county's zoning standards,” he said.

County attorney Mitch Powell said county officials are trying to work with Owen, but the sticking point remains the zoning.

“We haven't filed an injunction yet, but we will if we have to. That type of event is not allowed at the raceway,” he said.

For his part, Owen is hoping everything can be addressed quickly so he can refocus his efforts on promoting the concert.

“I don't want any ill will. I've addressed all their concerns. I just want to stage the show,” he said.

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