I know it has nice new sidewalks, curbs and gutters.
And rubber tomahawks are giving way to shops devoted to olive oil.
And beautiful lofts and townhomes are replacing creekside shacks.
But you can’t run a chain saw along Manitou Avenue anytime you want anymore?
Say it ain’t so!
But it is so, says Bill Fee. He says Hippy Mayberry, home to fruitcake-tossing, coffin-racing, drum-beating, live-and-let live folks is no longer welcoming his art.
He faces a Feb. 28 deadline to meet strict noise guidelines or he risks losing the business license for his Nature of Things Chainsaw Art gallery.
Here’s a look at Fee in his shop.
Lundgren doesn’t deny it. He’s outraged Fee has been allowed to create an “open-air manufacturing process” on the site. He notes Fee has several apprentice carvers who keep saws running daily.
He describes it as “heavy industry” not art. It’s loud, dirty and not compatible with the commercial zone where it exists or near homes like his, which is about 500 feet away, Lundgren said.
Here’s a letter Lundgren wrote explaining his position.
Fee said he’s complied with every request of neighbors and the city to reduce his noise. He 0nly saws 10-5, Monday through Friday. No more weekends or holidays.
He has moved his sawing operation to the side of his building, behind a wall and huge bales of hay and underneath a tent he constructed to muffle the noise.
Several neighbors I spoke to say they are happy with the changes Fee has made. La Rita Mason and Lucy Mills, among others, said they don’t want his business jeopardized. As long as he sticks with the Monday through Friday, 10-5 schedule, they are satisfied.
Other neighbors, including Ken Healey and Janice Montoya at the Briarhurst Manor, praise Fee for everything he’s done to accomodate their business. For years, Fee has shut down his saws when they are having weddings or other events. All it took was a phone call, Montoya said, to quiet the saws so guests could enjoy a romantic dinner on the patio.
Dan Folke, city planner, said he has no choice but enforce noise standards in the face of neighbor complaints.
Fee said he has to carve — put on a show — to attract customers. And he can’t do his job with small, electric-powered saws. They just don’t cut it.