Autoclub returns to the exhibition center | News, Sports, Jobs

Submitted Photo Juan Rivera and his Unique Car Club will be hosting at least two shows at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds this summer.

The Unique Car Club returns to the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds this summer, and Dunkirk Common Council members want a change.

Council members Natalie Luczkowiak and Nancy Nichols this week urged club owner Juan Rivera to move shows further back onto the grounds, more toward Brigham Road and away from Central Avenue. Rivera said he would honor the request.

A June 2021 show by the club sparked a minor controversy. Dozens of citizens complained to city officials about loud music and car noise from the show. Graduations nearby and at least one wedding were reportedly disrupted.

At first it sounded like Dunkirk officials wanted to ban Rivera and his club from city property, with then-Large Council Chairman Paul VanDenVouver stating: “He’s done.” However, Rivera sat down with city councilors and Police Chief David Ortolano and worked out a compromise, promising no loud noises or other disturbances. His club’s remaining shows in 2021 passed without apparent incident.

The 2021 hubbub started when Rivera couldn’t get speaker permits for his shows, although technically he didn’t have to get them as the exhibition center isn’t owned by the city of Dunkirk. However, citizens usually seek permits for private party loudspeakers as a neighborly gesture anyway.

This time, Rivera applied for permits for shows at the fairgrounds on Saturday and July 30th. Each show is scheduled to run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m

“I want you all to be aware that my original request was for a DJ and a two-tiered competition. I didn’t know what that was.” said Ortolano.

“What I found out is that this is a competition where you crank your engine as loud as you can and see how many times you can backfire. Four hours of that, twice, I didn’t think was a good idea. So I had Clerk (Edwin) Ramos call them back and tell them I wouldn’t approve it.”

The police chief added: “I was a bit surprised they tried that, having previously worked with them on the other issue… (Rivera) has agreed not to do that, so we’ll keep an eye on it, hopefully they stick with what.” they promise they will do it.”

Ramos said the two-stage competition was supposed to last half an hour, but no matter what “He was dissuaded and decided to pull it.”

The clerk said he would work with the club on anything the council wanted him to do and suggested that the speakers at the shows should be aimed towards the freeway and adjacent berm.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Rivera assured the council that he had made the speaker request for a DJ and was not planning any loud car noise.

“I know we’ve had our rough patches before. Things were miscommunicated and we got through it.” he added.

Rivera also wondered if he could have a two-tiered competition at the club’s third and final show of the season, held at Point Gratiot last September.

“I know that car radio speaker certification is hard to get because some cars are really, really, really loud,” he said. Rivera said he would run the contest in a small window of opportunity and would welcome a police presence, even if they had to fine people for noise violations.

He offered to get two club members to bring their vehicles into the barn at the festival site “You can stand outside the barn, I’ll set these things up as hard as I can and you can tell me if it’s enough for you or if it’s going to be too loud.”

“I think that’s a fair request as long as we keep lines of communication open. He works with the Chief and with Edwin.” Councilor at Large David Damico said.

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