Planners OK event venue

Published 9:39 pm Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A new wedding venue may be coming to Suffolk, but the application must get through City Council first.

During the Suffolk Planning Commission’s Tuesday meeting, the commissioners voted 7-1 to recommend approval of an event venue on White Marsh Road despite plenty of opposition from residents.

“I feel this venue is something that has been lacking in Hampton Roads for some time. This would be an ideal fit for this rural area of Suffolk,” said applicant Veronica Thompson. “It will be a luxury event venue for social and corporate events. Our ideal client would be a higher-end bride looking for luxury services.”

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Across the almost 23-acre parcel, the applicant wants to build a 6,000-square-foot barn with an 18-foot veranda. There will also be a one- to two-acre pond with a peninsula to serve as a place to hold wedding ceremonies.

“There will be nothing like it in the state. This will draw people into the city, and it will have a good economic impact,” Thompson said. “Guests will use hotels for rooms and spaces for rehearsal dinners.”

Many who live in the vicinity of the proposed venue expressed concerns regarding noise and traffic.

“We just relocated and built a house in the last six months because it is rural and quiet,” said White Marsh Road resident Steven Daigle. “This is in opposition of why we moved. We are concerned with noise, traffic and property value. There is a concern of the volume of all the people. There will also be a great deal of people and traffic coming through our small community.”

Others echoed the same sentiment.

“My major concern is noise. The pamphlet I received said 70 events a year that run until 11 p.m. or midnight,” said Carolina Road resident Caleb Hannah. “I get up early, and I’m concerned about the noise level. My wife and I moved to the country because of the quiet.”

Thompson said the traffic will be minimal. She cited the traffic study done by the city, which said no turn lane would be required for the site.

Most of those attending the events will also travel in groups or as couples, Thompson said.

The commission voted 7-1 to recommend approval to the City Council. Commissioner Johnnie Edwards voted against the application.

The application will go to City Council on Feb. 20.