Planners say no to Murray farm that wants to host weddings

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 June 2017 at 7:12 pm

ALBION – The Orleans County Planning Board is recommending the Town of Murray deny a variance request for a farm to host weddings and other events.

Kateland Farm at 3990 Lake Rd. wants to run the site as an event facility. That use is not allowed in a Residential/Agricultural District.

Kateland, which is owned by Theodore Jenney, has been hosting weddings at the site since 2014 – without incident, Jenney said in his application for a variance.

“We have run some 20 weddings over the last three years without a single problem,” Jenney said in a letter to the Planning Board. “We provide them with a real country wedding and reception.”

Murray issued a stop work order last year at Kateland. Ron Vendetti, the Murray code enforcement officer, sent a letter to Jenney on Aug. 30, 2016, advising him the property wasn’t zoned for events and the barn didn’t meet the state building code. Vendetti, in his letter, told Jenney, “Please stop advertising for events.”

Kateland hosted horse shows from 1995 to 2010. The site has an existing gravel parking area that can accommodate 100 vehicles, with additional overflow on a grassy area.

Jenney leases the property to Jean Klatt, who runs a business as a wedding coordinator. In his application to the Planning Board, Jenney said the site has helped Klatt run a business and also allowed the farm to turn a small profit, after it operated at a loss of nearly $45,000 in 2015.

Jenney said the town code doesn’t address weddings and receptions. He said the site should be considered as a recreation use, which is allowed in a RA District and would cover the use of weddings with music, dancing, eating as well as the horse activities.

County planners didn’t support the variance request because weddings and events aren’t an allowed use in the RA District. The horse shows, which were allowed, are different because they can be considered agricultural events, which fits in a RA District, planners said.

Weddings and other special events have longer hours with more noise than the horse shows for the residential neighborhood, which typically is very quiet with minimal traffic, planners said.

They also saw the need for a variance as a self-created hardship.

The decision from the Orleans County Planning Board is recommendation to the town. Murray can override that decision but would need a super-majority vote.

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