A special use permit that would have allowed a landowner to build a party barn was denied by the Orange County Board of Adjustment Monday night.
The party barn was planned to be built on a 22-acre plot of undeveloped land in Orange County. It was intended to hold wedding ceremonies and other large events.
Members of the surrounding Morrow Mill Road community showed up at the meeting to argue against the building of the party barn.
One resident said this development would change what she loved about the community.
“We have been there for 10 years now, in this quiet neighborhood that we love,” she says. “And we would never have looked at that home if that event center had been there.”
She adds knowing the event center would have been there would have been enough for her family to look for a home elsewhere.
“And that’s something that concerns us for other people that are interested in the area,” she says, “that they would be deterred by having to live next to an events center, especially people with young kids.”
In order to be issued a special use permit, the owners of the land, Kara and Chris Brewer, were required to prove to the board the new use would be harmonious with the neighboring community, would not reduce the value of the surrounding property and would maintain the public health, safety and general welfare. If they could not prove all three, then the permit would be denied.
The attorney for the surrounding community said the Brewers did not provide adequate proof.
“It is up to the opponent only to show that [the applicants] have missed the burden on only one of these,” he says. “I would submit to you that they have failed to carry the burden on any of them.”
The board agreed, voting that the Brewers and their attorney had not proven any of the three requirements.
Although they stopped the Brewers acquiring the SUP, the people on Morrow Mill Road may yet see the party barn they fought so hard to deny.
Planner Michael Harvey said the property owned by the Brewers counts as a farm, which can build without the SUP to attract agritourism.
“Like it or not, an agritourist operation, which the state has indicated includes a wedding venue,” he says, “is a legitimate recognized agritourist activity.”
After the decision, Brewer declined comment on what she planned to do with the land.