BLAINE – The city’s planning commission is set to consider amending its residential zoning to allow special events such as weddings.
In lieu of the regular July meeting that falls on the Independence Day holiday, the panel will hold a workshop to consider proposals Tuesday, June 29 at 6:30 p.m. A special called meeting will follow immediately to consider any proposals that are made.
Ben McCurry owns a farm on Milligan Lane where he grows hemp in a small greenhouse. He also lets a neighbor graze about 30 cattle on his land. He said he is considering growing soy beans and has also built a barn that he wants to use for a wedding venue and other social events. The planning commission met Monday, June 7 for a training session to see how McCurry might accomplish his purpose.
City Attorney Shelley Wilson said under current regulations, the wedding venue would not be allowed.
“The problem here is all you have is hemp. The event cannot be the major business. It must be secondary to agricultural uses,” Wilson said.
She said she could not recommend rezoning the property because it would be considered spot zoning, which is illegal.
“You can’t change the zoning just because of that,” she said.
She suggested that the panel consider amending the residential zone to permit other uses.
“I would be open to making the use permissible under certain conditions,” Wilson said.
City Planner David Williams concurred.
“I’m all for addressing the zoning ordinance, but I can’t say what form it would take,” he said.
The panel then decided to hold the workshop. If accommodation can be reached to amend the zoning ordinance, a special called meeting will be held immediately to recommend the changes to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for its July meeting.
Because zoning is legislation, the measure must pass two readings before it becomes law.