• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Orchard’s new owner can continue agri-business

A conditional-use permit will allow the new owner of Boyd Orchards to continue operating the agri-business at 1396 Pinckard Pike as an agricultural orchard enterprise. The Board of Adjustment (BOA) unanimously granted the conditional-use permit to Eckert’s, Inc., after no one from the community spoke at a public hearing on Monday night. Eckert’s, Inc., owns three agri-business farms, which are open to the public in the St. Louis area, and intends to continue offering family-oriented, on-farm experiences for its visitors at Boyd Orchards (renamed Eckert’s-Boyd Orchard by the new owner). A short video, with aerial images, provided the BOA with an overview of plans to continue operating the orchard as a destination for on-farm entertainment, where families can also experience picking their own apples, peaches and pumpkins. Terry and Susie Boyd had operated the family-owned Boyd Orchards since purchasing the property from the Kaenzig family and getting approval for a conditional-use permit to operate an agricultural tourism enterprise in 2004. In March of this year, Eckert’s, Inc., purchased the 30-acre orchard for $1.75 million and announced its plans to continue operating the Woodford County orchard as an agri-tourism enterprise where parents and their kids can experience farm-related activities. Seasonal events, such as festivals, will continue being offered at Eckert’s-Boyd Orchard from May 1 to Nov. 15 each year. Also, nightly activities will continue being held in a rear area of the farm in a naturally formed depression. No amplified music will be used during events, which must end by 11 p.m., according to conditions of the permit issued to Eckert’s, Inc. Its 2017 season officially began on Tuesday, May 2, one day after the conditional-use permit was issued by the BOA on Monday. During an interview announcing the orchard’s purchase, Chris Eckert, president of Eckert’s, Inc., and the seventh generation in his family to manage their farming business based in Belleville, Ill., said, “Boyd Orchards has been a successful part of the Versailles community and we want to continue that tradition. Our mission at Eckert’s is creating family memories…” Variance granted The BOA granted a rear-yard variance so Mike and Heather Porter can construct a roof over their deck at 6012 Crabapple Road. The 10-foot variance allows them to add the roof in order to protect their deck from deterioration by blocking its exposure to the sun and rain. Heather Porter provided BOA members with documentation that their neighbors did not object to the addition of a roof over their deck, and told them that their neighborhood’s homeowners’ association approved the roof. BOA member Fred Powers, who serves on the homeowners’ association, recused himself from participating in the hearing or vote, which approved the variance 4 to 0.

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