Halloween-style hayrides scare off neighbors, county


A Towson company's plan to bring 15,000 people to a Baltimore County farm field for haunted hayrides on five October weekends has proven too scary for residents in the area.

Outrageous Adventures Inc., which organized the event in cooperation with United Cerebral Palsy of Central Maryland, canceled the event this week after residents worrying about noise and traffic complained to county zoning officials, who then revoked the company's permits.

Planned for a 38-acre farm on Irish Avenue in the county's rural Manor section, the hayrides were to have begun last night and run for 13 nights through Halloween.

Visitors would have ridden hay wagons through a field prepared with a mock graveyard, a faked car wreck and other scary scenes.

"It's a shame," said Richard Aquino, a company vice president. "Now they're taking away money from a charity, from a young company that's trying to grow, and from the families who would enjoy the event."

He said his company had already spent about $35,000 and many man-hours of planning. United Cerebral Palsy was to have received 5 percent of the gross receipts, projected at between $5,000 and $10,000.

Arnold Jablon, the zoning administrator, said he revoked the company's permit Monday because he found that Outrageous Adventures had "misled" the zoning office about its contacts with the community.

He said the planner who initially approved the company's temporary-use permit "was under the impression they had talked to the community and that there was no opposition."

In fact, he said, "they never talked to anyone in the community. They went to the property owner, whose farm the hayride was to be given on, and he went to the adjoining property owner and to another who is an absentee landlord."

James Constable, president of the Manor Area Association, said common sense should have told the organizers they needed to meet first with the community.

"Obviously this can attract a great number of people," Mr. Constable said. "The property is located on a winding, quiet country road. . . . The neighbors felt that until they were assured there was satisfactory protection for them . . . that this commercial use was not appropriate."

Wendy Wilson, special events coordinator for United Cerebral Palsy of Central Maryland, said: "It's going to take me a while to get over this."

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