An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information on the ending date of the performances. The actual date is Sept. 5 and the story has been corrected. We apologize for the error.
YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio (WDTN) – Several Yellow Springs business owners voiced support for a zoning request for two dozen Dave Chappelle shows to be held in Greene County this summer. The zoning request would also allow the shows to more than double in size.
Signs of support for Dave Chappelle can be found at businesses across Yellow Springs.
“Dave Chappelle shows have brought a lot of business to the community, which is important, and I think he’s also brought a lot of diversity to Yellow Springs,” Rosie’s Natural Foods owner Coltraine Richland said.
Chappelle hopes to host 24 events this summer for his “Cornfield Shows.”
The owner of Wirrig Pavilion, where the shows are hosted, requested a temporary conditional use variance to the Miami Township Board of Zoning Appeals. If approved, it would allow for performances from May 26 through September 5.
In 2020, Chappelle got approval from Gov. Mike DeWine to hold outdoor shows with 400 people to allow for social distancing.
“One of these justifications for getting these variances was that this was a way to have performances when the normal venues for performances were shut down,” Miami Township Zoning Inspector Richard Zopf said.
Now that COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, the venue wants to increase its capacity to 1,000.
Jayne and George Brahler are getting ready for the grand opening of their vegan restaurant, The Veganry, this weekend. The restaurant showcases a special connection to the Chappelle family.
“The artwork by his niece Sumayah is all over our walls,” owner Jayne Brahler said.
Jayne said the request to expand his shows from an audience for 400 to 1,000 is like the process of opening a new business.
“I can compare that to the soft opening to what we had in here,” Jayne said. “So we know we can open up and keep moving, well, Dave, they pulled off phenomenal Cornfield Shows during COVID with 400. So, why couldn’t he expand to do 1,000?”
Zopf said there is some resistance from people who live near the venue.
“People who are negatively impacted by the shows usually having to do with things like noise and traffic,” Zopf said.
However, for some of the businesses in Yellow Springs, the shows bring them business they otherwise might not have.
“As far as I know, they’ve always tried to be respectful for all the neighbors that are out there, and it’s such a huge boost to the local economy that I think it’s really important they do have it,” Rose & Sal and Garment Boutique owner Susan Burgos said.
This is the fourth time the Miami Township Board of Zoning Appeals will hear a request for Chappelle shows to be hosted in the township since 2020.