• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Permit allows Shannon Run farm to host events

The Board of Adjustment granted a conditional-use permit on Monday night that allows a Shannon Run Road farm to host events. BOA member Marjorie Evans opposed the motion to approve the permit, which passed on a 3 to 1 vote. Evans objected to approving a permit that will allow weddings and other events on a farm, which does not currently have activities connected to agri-tourism. "We eventually hope to have some agri-tourism enterprises there," said farm owner Michael Duckworth. "We are just getting this started. So I think certainly a wedding venue is a starting point. But that's certainly not going to be our main focus over time. We hope to have events that relate to what's going on with the farming operating there." Duckworth said his family anticipates continuing their cattle and gardening operations, while also having future plans to plant evergreen trees so families can come onto the farm and purchase Christmas trees. A 3.2-acre pond also has potential as an agri-tourism enterprise, he said. "I envision certainly more than wedding events," said Duckworth, a former Woodford County Extension agent for agriculture, who told BOA members that he has a heart and passion for farm-related activities. "I think it's got some real potential for kids and families and others to gather there," said Duckworth. "I know when (a group from our) church came (to the farm), we had a ball. Kids and hayrides and a bonfire - I just don't think it gets much better than that. Now is that agri-tourism? I don't know. But they got a chance to see our place, and kids fished." Duckworth and his wife, Debbie, applied for the permit in order to operate an agri-tourism enterprise and host events on their farm based on existing and proposed agricultural activities. Their daughter's wedding was held in a recently built barn on the 32-acre farm at 661 Shannon Run Road last fall, which Michael Duckworth said garnered interest from others wanting to have weddings on the property. "I'm just not sure that this is agri-tourism right now," said Evans. "I can see that it might be in five years, but I am not (seeing) a good connection (with agriculture) right now." Her motion to deny the conditional-use permit failed to get a second. No one from the public spoke in opposition to the request for a conditional-use permit, which (as approved) will allow up to 10 events annually on Fridays and Saturdays, from April 1 to Oct. 31. In addition to reducing the number of total events from 30 (as originally proposed) to 10, the BOA agreed to restrict amplified music to no later than 10 p.m., rather than 11 p.m., at three of the events. Also, up to only 150 people may attend an event, with one daytime event being permitted to host up to 250 guests. The BOA agreed to review the conditional-use permit before April 2018 to discuss how the agri-tourism enterprise has been operated during its initial year of operation. The Agricultural Advisory Review Committee recommended that the Duckworth application be approved by the BOA. Frank Stark was not present at Monday's BOA meeting. Variance approved The BOA approved a dimensional variance that allows Big Dream Properties, LLC, (Michelle Grewe) to locate a free-standing sign four feet from the sidewalk along Frankfort Street. Neighboring businesses along Frankfort Street were previously approved variances for free-standing signs, said Wilson. Without a variance, a sign identifying the location of the new Agility Gymnastics facility being built at 160 Frankfort Street would not be visible to motorists. The gymnastics facility will be located over 300 feet off the roadway. Officers elected The BOA unanimously approved a motion to elect Tim Turney as chair, David Prewitt as vice chair and Stark as secretary for another calendar year.

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