By Ted Shockley

 

A request by a Franktown couple to operate a waterfront wedding and event venue at their Wellington Neck home is drawing concern from neighbors about the potential of increased traffic and noise.

Linda and John Cleaveland of 6171 Water View Way have asked Northampton County for a permit for the venue, which would host no more than 150 people an expected 20 times during the year’s warmer months.

But the plan has divided the Wellington Neck community, members of which attended a public hearing on the issue Tuesday night at the Northampton County Board of Supervisors’ meeting.

Supervisors can only take action on the request after a recommendation by the county planning commission, which earlier tabled action on the matter.

Those concerned with the proposal said narrow, turtle-backed Wellington Neck Road will be overburdened with increased traffic, and quiet, off-the-beaten-path residences will be within earshot of late-night wedding party music.

Others spoke on behalf of the Cleavelands, including Patricia Boyer, who said, “Let them share their beautiful piece of property.”

Neighborly relations apparently became testy between Linda Cleaveland and nearby resident Roberta Kellam, who accused the Cleavelands of currying favor before changing details in their plan.

In a remarkable back-and-forth in front of supervisors and the public, Cleaveland said she was treated rudely by Kellam, who she accused of saying in a phone call that the permit would only be granted over Kellam’s “dead body.”

Kellam didn’t deny it, and countered by saying she had been “just as aggressive” as Cleaveland.

Kellam said she feared from the wedding venue more late-night intoxicated drivers in Wellington Neck who already vomit and defecate in her driveway.

She also said nighttime Wellington Neck visitors have been “caught having sex in our driveway.”

The county planning commission is expected to discuss the wedding venue at its next meeting.