A pair of Greenfield business owners traded insults and barbs for the better part of an hour over what could be the biggest party Greenfield sees this decade.
Heck, there was even an unexpected Peanuts reference as Scott Campbell of Promotion Design LLC and John Schaller, owner of House of Harley-Davidson debated each other’s level of involvement during Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary celebration slated for Aug. 26 through Sept. 3, 2013.
The verbal boxing match, that at times featured Mayor Michael Neitzke and City Attorney Roger Pyzyk as referees Tuesday, stemmed from the Common Council's decision to deny Campbell, the co-owner of Boot Connection, a temporary use permit to use the Towne Center parking lot at 6100-6196 West Layton Avenue as a place for vendors during the nine-day event next summer.
Layton Avenue, a county-owned road, is expected to be closed from 64th to 68th streets with limited access to the businesses along that stretch. Milwaukee County has yet to approve the permit request by House of Harley to close it, but did so for the 100th and 105th anniversaries.
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Back in August, the Common Council granted Campbell a special use permit to use the Bed & Bunks, 6121 W. Layton Ave., parking lot for vendors during the event. Bed & Bunks is immediately next to House of Harley, whereas the Towne Center is across the street and adjacent to residential areas.
“This will likely be the largest event or activity that is hosted in this community that brings the most participants, has the biggest impact on many properties whether they are adjacent to it, or a resident nearby,” Community Development Manager Chuck Erickson said. “We believe, collectively, this is a different circumstance (than Campbell’s Bed & Bunks approval) and that is the basis for the collective denial.”
Erickson said his staff received input from the city’s fire, police and health departments in making the decision for denial.
Campbell said he was just attempting to lease the front grassy area of the lots, and would allow merchandise and beer vendors to set up shop for the week in that area.
“If you can allow House of Harley to have all these beer tents on Layton Avenue and take all this revenue off the street and stop these businesses cold, and they can’t take any money from a promoter, that’s not right,” Campbell said.
“I gave (Bunks & Beds) a good chunk of money for that property, and I want to do the same thing across the street. I’d like to do it at a lot more places, all the way to 68th.”
Schaller said the only problems he had during the 105th celebration were “created by the gypsies that Scott brought in” when he and Campbell partnered to rent the Bunks & Bed lot.
“When I think of Scott Campbell, I sometimes think of the Peanuts character Pigpen,” Schaller said. “Not because he doesn’t wash, but because wherever he goes, he’s followed by a cloud of chaos and unhappiness.
“Scott is loosey-goosey. ‘I don’t understand, I don’t get it, I don’t know what happened’ — the same responses he gave when we had problems with his lot for the 105th.”
Schaller said the difference between him and Campbell is that House of Harley pays for liability insurance for the event, pays for advertising, controls parking, pays for garbage pickups, brings in 24-hour security, will provide entertainment from regional musical acts and much more.
“And Scott will pay for none of it,” Schaller said. “He’ll pay for none of the infrastructure. He sneaks in, tries to take property and get beer permits and we need that money for what we provide.
“We work very hard for a year and a half to two years to make this an even that works. Our track record is spotless for the 100th and 105th, tarnished only by the events Scott had next door to us.”
Schaller said he also provides free vendor space to all businesses along Layton Avenue, if they want it.
Fire Chief Jon Cohn said allowing Campbell to lease the Towne Center space could hamper emergency response times because it is adjacent to a primary access route, and Police Captain Dave Patrick said adding an additional beer tent would spread the police department thin.