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Village says yes to barn weddings PDF Print E-mail
Written by MITCH MAERSCH   
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 19:08

Buechler Farms receives conditional use permit that sets requirements on number of events and parking

The Village of Belgium Plan Commission approved a conditional use permit last week for Buechler Farms that allows barn weddings.
The commission had delayed a vote on the permit in November, pending acquiring more information from the business, and didn’t hold a meeting in December due to the holidays.
The permit allows 40 events to be held per year, a number that was doubled from 20 in November.
“We were going to do Fridays and Saturdays. We could have up to eight a month,” Buechler Farms co-owner Irene Buechler said.
Events in the permit include barn weddings but not rodeos, circuses, pumpkin farm and Christmas tree festivities, which  require a separate permit.
Hours of operation for weddings are restricted to 8 a.m. to midnight, and music and sound — all restricted to inside the barn — must end by 11 p.m.
Attendance is set at a maximum of 225 per event, which is the capacity of the south barn.
Buechler said including the north barn could double the occupancy, but Village Building Inspector Roger Kison said he didn’t receive a layout of that building. He  said the business would have to apply for a change in the permit to allow for more people.
The commission discussed restricting alcohol sales to inside the barns, but Plan Commission Chairman Vickie Boehnlein suggested removing that clause as long as the business meets state and village liquor license requirements.
Buechler said her business won’t need a liquor license for weddings since vendors will be brought in to serve.
Regarding bathroom facilities, Buechler said the business doesn’t want to bring in portable toilets. It may want to connect to village sewer and water for events and eventually the Buechler’s home.
Co-owner Brian Buechler said he would like to keep using a well for his cattle.
Director of Public Works Dan Birenbaum said a private well permit may be required.
Boehnlein again said specific language in the permit isn’t required if the law is followed.
“As long as you guys are meeting the laws, I guess I don’t feel that there’s any need for us to be more detailed than that,” she said.
The Buechlers would like to move one of their driveways to accommodate weddings,  but a village ordinance requires new driveways to be paved.
Boehnlein suggested the Buechlers submit a written application for a variance to the ordinance.
At least 50 parking spaces are required, including four handicapped spots.
The permit runs through December.
Kison said conditional use permits are usually reviewed after one year, and Buechler Farms could then request changes, such as increasing the number of events allowed to be held.
The Village Board in October, on a recommendation from the Plan Commission, approved amending an ordinance to allow barn weddings, receptions and corporate barn parties in its agricultural district. Buechler Farms had applied for the change.

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