Planning Commission turns down wedding proposal

CLAYTON TOWNSHIP — The Clayton Township Planning Commission is recommending no wedding bells at a home on South Van Vleet Road.

Resident Tom Case, through his attorney, Kyle Riem, requested a special use permit to offer up his farm at 1202 S. Van Vleet for weddings.

Before a full house at the March 20 meeting, the commission voted to recommend that the township Board of Trustees deny the use.

“My client wants to be a good neighbor, but in addition he wants to use his property as he sees fit within the restrictions and ordinances of this township,” said Riem.

Riem said Case is asking to provide a space for wedding ceremonies “in designated areas of the property” no more than five Fridays and/or Saturdays per month, between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The property is very picturesque with a large pond and an island, which is where the wedding ceremonies would be held, he said.

“A typical wedding ceremony would last about two hours, including the arrival and departure of guests,” Riem added. “The wedding ceremony will not include a reception of any type, and alcohol will not be served.”

After his presentation, neighbors were given the chance to comment. Ron Case, the petitioner’s brother and closest neighbor, objected to the special use permit request.

“We’ve lived there for thirty years and have developed the property with my dad,” he said. “It’s beautiful. It’s like a park – pond, bridges, flowers and trees. But this idea creates a problem for my wife and I because we share the driveway. A wedding at a pond is not like a wedding at a church. People wander around and enjoy the area, that’s why you have an outdoor wedding. People walk around and look into our house.”

Case ended his remarks by saying, “There is a lot of activities involved with these weddings. That is not a calm, quiet weekend for my wife and I. We won’t feel private, we won’t feel safe.”

Approximately 40 residents attended the meeting; 10 to 15 spoke in opposition to the request, many standing to speak two or three times. The other residents echoed Ron Case’s concerns about increased traffic, guests wandering around the neighborhood, lessened privacy and security issues.

Commissioner Rob Widigan made the motion to recommend to the board of trustee denial of Case’s request, which was seconded by board member Ed McCartney. A roll call vote was called, with the motion passing unanimously.

In other news, the board decided to move its meetings to 6:00 p.m. permanently. Also, because of increased interest in the township by solar panel farm developers, a solar moratorium was recommended to the board of trustee.

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