From this side of the rocker, looks like our local planning commission shows no favorites when it comes to turning its “no’s” up to requests to anything billed as an event center. We’re not suggesting the rulings are bad/wrong, but we do wonder what it will take for such a thing to pass muster.
First request to bite the dust was from the owners of Grace Estate (downtown Historic District). Objections were a’plenty with most centering on noise. MPC said yes to a quiet bed and breakfast; no to potentially noisy event center. We’re not sure if acceptable decibel levels were noted.
Next to get a turn down was a zoning change request by a Haughton couple wanting eventually to build an event center on a couple of acres at the corner of Columbia and Linden. Their idea was to host private events, birthday parties and such. On the surface it sounded good, especially the claim that the center would be a place for kids to go.
But, we heard, the potential owners indicated they would apply for a liquor license. Hmmm. Quite an inducement to attract young people. That idea, plus plenty of neighborhood opposition to a potentially noisy place close to homes, apparently was the silver bullet to this request.
Thoughts come to mind that may help future event center proponents. First, and probably firstest doubled, is location. Realtors say it all the time, and when potentially large gatherings are possible, that should be foremost. Surely there’s land available that doesn’t abut NIMBY types. Entrepreneurs: think about it.
Also, depending on how you look at it, there’s already places in town that could qualify as event centers. Consider: the local golf course’s party hall and the Community House at Victory Park. These have apparently been just fine for the slightly more boisterous get-togethers. Heckfire, friends. We even have our very publicly owned Civic Center available. I bet we can get at least a 3-2 vote from the council for certain things.
And, just about every church in town has a family-friendly facility that is a real place where kids and cooler heads can gather. Depending on the occasion, some churches have been known to waive the “members only” requirement.
Just a suggestion: Perhaps the MPC and our community-oriented city council can jointly, and cooperatively, determine and define exactly what qualifies as an event center. Guidelines for acceptable zoning variances and reasonable rules for activities and their governance can be established. An ordinance can be drafted and we might put an end to the matter. That, in itself, might qualify as an event.
Another interesting MPC decision saw a proposed retirement village on the Germantown Rd. get retired one more time when a zoning variance request from the developer was denied. MPC commissioners were forced to deal with the issue again when the city council decided not to decide on an appeal from MGM, the intended builders of the 50-unit multi-family residence/gated retirement community.
MGM partner, developer Jeff Glover, didn’t attend the MPC session, indicating his past experiences with the commission and city council weren’t exactly the stuff that makes a kumbaya moment.
We hear through the grapevine that MGM has asked the Department of Housing and Urban Development to take a look at the deal. Knowing our Uncle and his current squirrels, that look could be neither brief nor friendly.
Final thought: Nice try, Mr. Campbell. We’re impressed by the Democrat outing tactic. Does this solidify your status in Minden’s elite DISJAM chapter?