After a meeting that lasted more than two hours and was attended by 30-plus people, the decision to approve a wedding barn venue in Seymour has been tabled until the next Jackson County Board of Zoning Appeals meeting.
Christina McMurray was looking to get her application approved with a special exception to construct a wedding/event barn venue in a forest and recreational zoning district. If approved, the venue would be at 2668 W. State Road 58, Seymour.
During the recent meeting, she said increased noise was the biggest complaint she had been hearing about her potential venue. Other issues included increased traffic and how the venue will look against the scenery of the location.
“I hope to be able to give people great memories that will last a lifetime, and I’m asking that you grant me the opportunity to do that,” McMurray said when speaking in front of the board.
The board asked McMurray questions about the property, like if a quiet time will be required as a part of her contracts, what her operating hours will be and how she will be handling security for the venue.
The public also was allowed to comment about the proposal. Twenty-nine letters of recommendation were read in favor of McMurray’s application due to a statute requiring them to be read, and four additional people spoke in person in favor of the venue.
Once public input in favor of the venue concluded, three people spoke in opposition, and two letters of opposition were read.
One letter was authored by Bryce Larson, who spoke at the meeting. His letter included a petition signed by 11 landowners around McMurray’s property in opposition of the construction of the wedding barn.
Larson said he has lived at a location near McMurray’s property for 32 years and had “suppressed anxiety” about the wedding venue being constructed since he was retired and wished to reside in a quiet location.
“I hope that tonight is not a popular vote. I hope (tonight’s vote) gives some appreciation to the current landowners,” Larson said.
During meeting discussion, it was determined the nearest neighbor to McMurray’s property would be 950 feet away.
After all public input ended, the board began discussion.
“I’m all for small business, I’m all for growth, but I think in my eyes, it comes down to we have a petition here of almost every landowner around (McMurray’s property) that doesn’t want it to be there,” BZA board member Travis Norman said. “I think Ms. McMurray here has put together a wonderful plan. In my eyes, in my opinion, this is the wrong location for this venue.”
Norman made a motion to deny the application, but when the five-member board voted, only two were in favor of the denial.
BZA member Donald Cummings then asked if it was possible for the board to table the decision to the next meeting to give members time to physically look at the property themselves.
Board President Conner Barnette said that was possible, and then Cummings made a motion to table the vote, and that passed.
Since the decision is tabled, no board members are allowed to talk to each other about the property or application until the next BZA meeting at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8. Board members also are not allowed to talk to McMurray or the public about the application.
It also was noted that there will be no public input allowed at the next meeting and that discussion of the application will strictly be between board members. The meeting is still open to the public.
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What: Jackson County Board of Zoning Appeals meeting
When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8
Where: Jackson County Courthouse, 111 S. Main St., Brownstown
Who: Open to the public and press