Stonehouse Park, a campsite where Pagan Spirit Gathering (PSG) is scheduled to be held, has come under fire by local residents for loud music festivals and illegal activities. None of the complaints or arrests have occurred during PSG. The park could be shut down by the County Board if members agree with DeKalb County’s Planning and Zoning Committee’s decision to deny the park owners’ permit request. PSG is now seeking a “special zoning permit that would allow Pagan Spirit Gathering to be held at Stonehouse Park this year even if zoning processes currently underway are not resolved this Summer.”
Originally, the county was looking to reduce the number of people permitted at the park to just 500. After the first public hearing, Stonehouse Park was hopeful the limit could be raised to 4000. But those hopes were dashed when 200 residents signed a petition to shut down the park. If the county zoning board agrees with the petition and denies renewal of the Park’s 2008 permit the property would revert back to Agriculture-1 zoning, which means no public use would be allowed.
Concerns voiced by community memebrs and law enforcement include loud music late at night, underage drinking, and arrests at two events last summer where witnesses say multiple people were selling and smoking marijuana. Park owners say they have improved procedures at the park and have barred those two groups from Stonehouse Park.
This is not the first time PSG has faced uncertainty due to drug charges at a campground by other events not related to PSG. In 2009, PSG moved to Camp Zoe in Missouri. In November of 2010 Camp Zoe was shut down by federal authorities after a four-year-long investigation allegedly uncovered rampant drug use and sales on the property. In 2011, PSG moved to Stonehouse Park. Now Stonehouse Park has come under increased scrutiny.
PSG’s Sharon Stwart has been working closely with Stonehouse Park, county officials and park neighbors in seeking a solution to the park’s Special Use Permit possible lower capacity restriction. Today PSG sent out this message:
As we reported in March, Stonehouse Park has been in the process of amending their required Special Use Permit with Dekalb County, Illinois. Pagan Spirit Gathering Manager Sharon Stewart and others continue to be in frequent contact with a variety of local officials as well as neighbors and Stonehouse Park campground owners as part of the campground’s zoning process.Although the outcome of the campground’s application for amending their existing zoning permit is not yet known, work also has begun on a special zoning permit that would allow Pagan Spirit Gathering to be held at Stonehouse Park this year even if zoning processes currently underway are not resolved this Summer. Circle Sanctuary is making contingency plans and continuing with preparations for holding Pagan Spirit Gathering 2012 at Stonehouse Park.