Community Interest

County P&Z Recommends Approval of Wedding Venue on Hwy. F

On Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019 the St. Charles Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend approval for a proposed wedding venue at 2275 and 2323 Hwy. F. The venue will involve approximately 27 acres of a 105-acre tract located approximately 900 feet east of Femme Osage Creek Road on the north side of Hwy. F.

The property is owned by Robert and Kim Brinkmann of St. Albans, but Brinkmann stated at the Feb. 20 meeting that he and his wife are building a new home on an adjacent piece of property, which will become their primary residence.

The property is currently zoned A, Agricultural District. The Conditional Use Permit Request (#18-18) states the property will include buildings, structures and open spaces for conducting weddings and/or wedding receptions or other private parties. The applicant is proposing to conduct approximately 1-2 events per weekend, inside the historic barn, at a future reception pavilion and/or at a wedding pergola on site, with up to 100 events per year with a maximum guest count of 200 persons per event. The existing historic stone residence on site will be used for bridal party preparation and accommodations. Another single-family home on the property is proposed to be used for other wedding party guests. One new cabin is planned in the middle of the vineyard to be used as a bride and groom cabin. Plans call for 120 gravel parking spaces, and additional grass area parking for up to 171 vehicles total.

Several people from the surrounding area spoke at the meeting, not necessarily opposing the proposed use as a wedding venue, but asking that restrictions be placed on the property to reduce noise, prohibit fireworks, shorten operation hours, prohibit firearms on site, and to cut-off alcohol consumption one hour prior to closing. Noise, increased traffic, and potential alcohol impaired drivers were top concerns.

Graeme Garvey, whose property abuts the venue, suggested several limitations: 
1. No alcohol should be served 90 minutes prior to the function end time.   2. No fireworks displays or Sky Lanterns for this facility should be allowed.  3. For all events, meetings, or functions to be held on the premise of the proposed reception building, no amplified sound should be located outdoors except during the performance of a wedding ceremony.  4. No firearms should be allowed. 5. Local vendors and employees living and incorporated within St. Charles County should comprise 50% of the workforce to maintain, operate, and staff events.  Garvey provided articulate, well-researched explanations of his reasons for each request.

Garvey said, “It is not my intent to prevent the Brinkmann’s from establishing a wedding venue.  It is my intent to ensure that the establishment, maintenance, and operation of this venue will not be injurious or damaging to my property in the enjoyment, safety, or property value.  My requests for these restrictions to be applied to the Brinkmann’s conditional use permit are a path forward that would responsibly and satisfactorily minimize the risks from the proposed facility’s operation to my adjoining property.”

After hearing from citizens, Commissioner Kevin Cleary suggested closing at 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Cleary also suggested that all amplified sound be stopped one hour before closing. However, Robert Myers, Directory of the Planning and Zoning Dept., urged the Commission to ask Mr. Brinkmann if those restrictions would fit with his business plan. Brinkmann said he needed the later hours (11 p.m. closing) and music up to closing time to accommodate his customers. Subsequently, no such restrictions were recommended.

Cleary also suggested that no fireworks displays be allowed for any events on the property, and the commission did agree to add that restriction to the list previously prepared by staff. Staff recommended restrictions included closing at 11 p.m., no outdoor amplified sound except during wedding ceremonies, and “Full Cutoff” lighting fixtures to prevent light pollution from impacting surrounding properties.

The Conditional Use Request will now go before the County Council on Monday, March 11, 2019 for a first reading, with the second reading and vote on March 25th. The County Council may decide to uphold the P&Z Commission’s recommendations, remove or revise them them, and/or make changes of their own.

To view the site conceptual design, click here:  Brinkmann wedding conceptual design.pdf  

To view other documents associated with this request at the County’s website in the “Agendas and Minutes” option:

brinkman site map2-11.jpg