Tico Time River Resort owner promises changes, but neighbors are skeptical
Rob Holmes outlines mitigation plan at San Juan County Commission meeting
- The Tico Time River Resort is located on the east side of U.S. Highway 550 in northern San Juan County, just south of the Colorado border.
- The resort serves as an RV park and live music venue.
- Several dozen complaints were made last year about excessive noise and disruptive behavior by guests of the park.
FARMINGTON — The owner of an RV resort and live music venue in northern San Juan County told San Juan County commissioners during their March 15 meeting in Aztec that he is planning a variety of strategies this year to address the dozens of complaints about noise and disruptive behavior he received from nearby residents last year.
In a presentation that lasted more than seven minutes, owner Rob Holmes of the Tico Time River Resort said he is intent on maintaining good relations with the people who live near the sprawling 74-acre park that straddles the Animas River just east of U.S. Highway 550 near the Colorado border.
Holmes said he is working on several changes that he hopes will satisfy the people who called the San Juan County Sheriff's Office repeatedly last summer to complain about the noise from the resort's weekly music festivals and the behavior of numerous park guests.
"I don't necessarily think we're going to appease everyone," Holmes said near the conclusion of his presentation. "But we're trying to do our absolute best to be a good neighbor and have noise levels at an acceptable level."
Holmes said he is planning on having beefed-up security and a lighter music schedule, making changes to the design of the outdoor stage, and conducting regular monitoring of noise levels by park employees for the summer season, when business at the resort is at its peak.
Those planned changes did little to satisfy some of the park's more vocal critics. After Holmes' presentation, County Manager Mike Stark read comments from two of the resort's neighbors, neither of whom expressed much confidence that the situation will be significantly better this summer than it was last year.
"Here we go again," began the comments from Judy Bryson, a resident of the Riverside neighborhood just to the south of Tico Time.
Bryson argued that the festival schedule Tico Time has posted on its website for this summer is not much different than last year's schedule. She also claimed county officials have not followed through on a pledge to explore the idea of requiring the park to obtain a special events permit for its festivals that would limit the hours when amplified music could be played.
"Enough already," Bryson wrote. "We've had enough of your dragging feet. It's time to find a solution everyone can live with."
Two other nearby residents, Gary and Ellen Hout, submitted comments complaining that the noise and disruptive behavior from Tico Time have adversely affected their property values, even as their property taxes increase.
"I know this is all about money, which we don't have, but hopefully we still have the rights to a peaceful and quiet existence so we can all keep our sanity … " they wrote in their submitted comments.
The Houts called for the commission to enact an ordinance for the area so San Juan County sheriff's deputies could cite the park for making excessive noise. That idea already has been dismissed as impractical by county officials, who fear it could have unintended consequences for energy and construction industry operations elsewhere in the county.
Holmes acknowledged several times during his presentation that the complaints of some of his neighbors last year were valid.
"Last year was a huge learning lesson for us," he said, noting that in some instances, he had relied on outside promoters to stage the festivals and that those promoters caused most of the problems.
The River of Souls Festival that took place May 20-22, 2021, seemed to create the most issues, Holmes said. Many nearby residents were so angry about the noise from that event — which went on until 3 a.m. to 4 a.m., they said — that they showed up in large numbers at the next County Commission meeting to demand that officials do something about the park.
Holmes said an outside promoter brought in an enormous sound system for that festival, creating a volume that he described as "insane."
"That's one thing that will not happen this year," he said, explaining that every festival the park holds this year will be promoted by his staff, using an in-house sound system.
The River of Souls Festival has been replaced on this year's schedule by a yoga festival — part of an effort to promote health and wellness at the park over a party atmosphere, Holmes said.
"I think that event caused severe concern with the neighbors because I think they thought, 'This is going to be the norm from now on,' like, 'This is going to happen every weekend at these noise levels,'" he said. "And I can understand why that would be a concern."
Holmes said he intends to present approximately 40% less music this summer than he did last year, with live music scheduled on Sundays only on holiday weekends. He also plans to construct a solid wall on the south and west sides of the large outdoor stage where his festivals take place.
"I'm not sure if that will completely negate the noise," he said. "I don't think that it will. But I do think it will be helpful."
Park employees will be monitoring the noise levels from the live music at locations around the resort, he said.
"This year, we can actually take a video with the decibel meter showing these actual noise levels at this time and at these locations," he said.
Holmes said his goal is to have all music on the main stage end by 10:30 each night and to have "no more noise" by 11 p.m. He also said the park would have 24-hour security this summer, something that wasn't in place last year.
Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.