Board approves plan to use barn for weddings

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – Brian Niemi got an “I do” from the Plymouth Town Board Tuesday for his plan to rent out his Green Tree Road barn for weddings.

The board approved Niemi’s request for a conditional use permit to allow him to fix up and rent out the barn to other couples for weddings.

He had explained to the board when he first raised the proposal last fall that he and his wife were married in the barn and others were interested in doing the same.

The upper floor of the barn would be used for the wedding ceremonies and receptions, he told the board Tuesday, and there would be no access to the lower level of the barn for wedding participants and guests.

Events at the barn would be limited to no more than 200 people, Niemi said.

He stressed that it would only be a seasonal use for the barn.

Niemi presented a letter from the county’s Planning and Resources Department stating he had met all the county’s conditions for the use. That included food, sanitation and health issues.

After the conditional use permit from the town, Niemi continued, “the next step is for my architect to do all the paperwork for the state.”

Town officials pointed out that Niemi would need an inspection by the fire department before he could begin renting out the barn for weddings.

Town Attorney James Hughes reported to the board on a problem with the town’s zoning ordinances which had come up recently.

He noted that a town resident on Birch Tree Road had been looking to sell his property, which is located in the Crystal Lake Sanitary District and zoned R-3.

The house has an attached garage, but Hughes said a potential buyer wanted to be able to build a detached garage.

That’s when it was discovered that detached auxiliary buildings are not allowed in R-3 zoning according to the town code, Hughes explained.

“We have so few properties that are zoned R-3, I don’t know that we’ve ever had a request to build a detached garage on one, at least not in my term,” Hughes said.

He added that there are detached garages on some lots in the town’s sanitary districts, but he couldn’t say if they were grandfathered in or allowed as a variance.

“Those lots are notoriously small in that area,” Hughes continued, “but we do have setback requirements in that area,” and a detached garage could be allowed if it met the setback requirements.

Town Chairman Jim Lubach noted that the zoning ordinance does allow detached garages in R-1 residential areas.

Clerk/Treasurer Laura Raeder noted that the setback requirement in R-1 is 90 feet and suggested that should be followed in R-3 as well.

The board directed Hughes to draw up a proposed change to the zoning ordinance. Hughes said it would go the Planning Commission for a recommendation and that it would require a public hearing.

Supervisor Gene Blindauer noted that he had received a letter attempting to sell him insurance for his underground water lines and wanted to make it known that the letter did not come from the town and that the town has nothing to do with the solicitations.

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