By Jesse Wood
Aug. 25, 2014. In a letter dated Aug. 22, the Boone Town Council announced its revocation of Southern Appalachian Historical Association’s license to use town property because the town says the organization violated numerous sections in the license agreement that was approved in March of this year.
SAHA, producers of the “Horn in the West” outdoor drama and Hickory Ridge Living History Museum, has been ordered by the town to “immediately vacate the property with the exception of the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum and the associated parking spaces for those buildings, which SAHA may use until Dec. 31, 2014,” reads the letter.
SAHA must surrender keys to the other buildings to the town manager by Wednesday, Aug. 27, at 5 p.m. The town has also granted SAHA 60 days from the date of the Aug. 22 letter to remove SAHA’s personal property from the premises, according to the letter.
Boone Town Council made the decision late into its Thursday evening meeting.
In the letter from Mayor Andy Ball to SAHA Chair Al Ernest, Ball wrote that SAHA has “repeatedly” worked on the property without securing building permits or permission from the town and has utilized workers unqualified to perform such work.
“The most recent example of this is electrical work regarding stage lighting where SAHA did not obtain a permit, did not obtain permission, as required, and used unsuitable materials and methods, creating a dangerous situation,” the letter read. “SAHA also failed to complete agreed upon work prior to the start of the 2014 season of Horn in the West and has yet to finish it. The work yet to be completed is the soffits for the pit building. The town in good faith issued a conditional certificate of occupancy so SAHA’s season could begin on time, based on SAHA’s promise to complete this work.”
Ernest and SAHA Vice Chair Greg Williams didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday afternoon.
In October 2013, the Boone Town Council approved an “immediate needs” list by Boone Planning and Inspections of improvements and repairs to the facilities utilized by SAHA for the outdoor drama. The Boone Town Council then extended a short-term license agreement multiple times in order for the organization to formulate a plan on completing those repairs prior to the 2014 “Horn in the West” season. Improvements on the list included demolition and disposal of the left stage wall, back wall and PIT building and fixing electrical issues.
Ball said that SAHA can approach the council next year regarding a license to execute the outdoor drama on the “Horn in the West” property in 2015.
See letter from town to SAHA here: SAHA Letter 08.22.14