HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM) – Changes are coming to the popular concert venue “The L” on Breesport Road after a months-long dispute with the Town of Horseheads over proper zoning requirements and complaints from residents. “The L” is run by the “Journey Church” next door. 18 News has learned “The L” has lost its tax-exempt status. 18 News also learned the head Pastor at Journey Church, Scott Lowmaster, has resigned over what he described as “A lot of fighting. A lot of crazy crazy stuff.”
As we first reported in March, the Town of Horseheads sent a letter to the “Journey Church” saying it should “cease all commercial activities on the premises” until it applies for proper zoning requirements. The letter said the Church did apply to operate commercial businesses on the property. However, the Town said it only approved the use of professional offices and not the quote “myriad of uses requested in its application.” In addition to a concert venue, the Town says the Church was also operating a fitness center, barber shop, wedding venue, and had plans to open a cafe restaurant.
At a September 6th meeting of the Town of Horseheads Planning Board, the minutes say the board was informed the head Pastor at Journey Church, Scott Lowmaster, “is no longer associated with the Church in any capacity.” The minutes show the new interim Pastor, Reverend Kevin O’Shell, told the Board Lowmaster had “left quite a mess for them to clean up.” The minutes show Pastor Lowmaster also ran a suicide prevention program called the ‘I-Matter Foundation.’ The minutes say I-Matter managed the concerts at “The L” and did so while operating as a 503C non-profit. The minutes say “Pastor Lowmaster was in charge of I-Matter, so there will need to be a reorganization to that program as well. There should have been some sort of contract between the Church and the Foundation, however, nothing was ever set up. There are contractual obligations that the Foundation had entered into, and those obligations will need to be reviewed.”
In a voicemail to 18 News, Pastor Lowmaster said he resigned on August 1st because there was quote “A lot of fighting. A lot of just crazy crazy stuff and I’m just tired. I can’t comment for the Church because I don’t represent the Church anymore.”
Property records show the Journey Church has now lost 65% of its tax exempt status. That’s the percentage of revenue it was making from “The L.” The Church now owes $33,031 in school taxes for 2023.
The minutes also say “In regards to the concerts and the noise, though there will be a decrease in the number of concerts going forward, because all advertising for concerts has ceased. As of today, there are still (8) eight upcoming concerts scheduled. The question about ‘alcohol consumption’ was brought up and that concern is being addressed.”
The planning board gave the Journey Church four goals to complete prior to the next meeting on October 1.
- Contracts in place with each business occupying the building
- Drawings of what business is in each area
- Mitigate sound issue
- Curtail number of upcoming events
We reached out to the main contact listed on “The L” website, Adam Bunce. Mr. Bunce told 18 News he was not available to comment but agreed to sit down for an interview at a later date.
Below, you can read the full minutes from the September 6th Planning Board meeting and the initial cease letter the Town of Horseheads sent to “The L” on February 6.