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In February, the Moretown Development Review Board (DRB) in part granted residents' request to amend the zoning permit to allow for greater freedom hosting events at Bliss Ridge Farm on Gove Road.
Bliss Ridge Farm is owned and operated by Jordan and Dan von Trapp, who rent the property out for weddings. In June of 2011, the DRB approved the von Trapps' conditional use permit to host events as a "cottage industry" on a parcel of land zoned agricultural-residential, with limitations to minimize their effect on adjoining properties.
According to those limitations, the couple could host 10 events per year, with no more than one event on any one weekend and no more than two events in any one month (except for one of the von Trapps' choosing).
Finding that the limitations greatly hindered bookings during wedding season, in which most requests for events are concentrated in the late-summer months, the von Trapps requested that their allowance be raised to 15 events per year with the ability to schedule four events in any one month and three events in two additional months.
The von Trapps also asked for the ability to host a small rehearsal dinner or brunch the day before or after an event, and they asked that non-wedding events not count towards their quota.
A few of the von Trapps' neighbors attended the hearing, with one sharing his opinion that the von Trapps' use of their property does not meet the criteria to be permitted as a "cottage industry" within an agricultural-residential district. Other neighbors expressed no opposition to the von Trapps' proposed amendments.
After some deliberation, the DRB granted the von Trapps the ability to host 12 weddings per year, instead of the requested 15. They also granted the couple the ability to host four weekend events in any one month and three weekend events in two additional months, with the stipulation that events can be scheduled for no more than three consecutive weekends.
The board also granted the von Trapps the ability to hold a small rehearsal dinner or brunch the day before or after the wedding, with the stipulation that the number of guests not exceed 30.
The DRB did not grant the von Trapps' final request that non-wedding events not count towards their quota, as community events will have the same impact as weddings in terms of set-up and traffic.