By Ted Shockley
An event and wedding venue proposed in the historic waterfront Cherrystone community near Cheriton has been denied by the Northampton County Board of Supervisors.
Supervisors including John Coker said the proposal was too close to existing homes that would be impacted by traffic and loud music.
“This is not economic development,” said Coker. “This is neighborhood destruction.”
The cited a petition and speakers who said everyone in and near the Cherrystone community was against the proposal.
“You don’t get ‘unanimous’ in this world, but we have it here,” he said.
Owners of the parcel, called Huntington Farm, sought to create revenue with the property by hosting 40 weddings and events annually.
The use required a permit, which the county’s Planning Commissions last week recommended.
Supervisors, who had the final say, didn’t follow the commission’s suggestion and seemed sympathetic to the concerns of nearby residents.
Jennifer Buck said Northampton supervisors should seek input from other communities on how to regulate wedding and event venues, requests for which have proliferated in the county in recent years.
One already exists near Cherrystone, and “Cherrystone Road is simply not made for two event centers,” said Kate Tayloe, a nearby resident, during a public input period.
“This is not in keeping with the community’s wishes,” said Odell Wood. “Please show the citizens of the county that their voice matters.”
Eastville attorney Andre Wiggins, representing the applicants, said the owners of the property agreed to reduce the capacity of guests to 200 and limit noise.
“They want to be good neighbors,” he said.
Supervisors weren’t swayed.
“This isn’t a good fit for that area,” said Supervisor Dave Fauber, who acknowledged that some of the supervisors’ decisions weren’t always popular.
“We’re losing friends, and I don’t have that many friends to lose,” he said.