A board has indicated a Miami Twp. wedding venue may be a public nuisance, according to its rejection of the facility’s appeal of a Montgomery County stop work order.
The ruling handed down against Stoney Hill Bed and Breakfast owner Darren Powlette — whose attorney plans to challenge — cites six factors in upholding the county’s action.
“The appellate has failed to demonstrate to the board that the assembly use of the structure does not constitute a public nuisance,” the ruling states.
The Oct. 23 document was issued about two weeks after a hearing questioning the county order is among three challenges Powlette’s operation has made about the facility at 7757 Upper Miamisburg Road. The other two involve court cases stemming from Miami Twp. action earlier this year.
The county issued the halt order June 25, stating “you have constructed a barn without any permits or inspections, and are using it as a wedding chapel, which is a place of public assembly, and is regulated by the Ohio Building Code.”
Powlette’s attorney contends the county and the township have no jurisdiction over Stoney Hill because it has an agricultural exemption, operating as an agritourism business under the Ohio Revised Code.
Powlette’s attorney Greg Page said Friday he plans to appeal the ruling either to the state or to common pleas court, both of which are viable options. The appeal must be made within 30 days of the board’s ruling.
“In it’s simplist form, we have an agricultural exemption for this property,” Page said. “And as such the building code does not govern this property. And as such….the stop work order shouldn’t be upheld.”
The barn, which Powlette said is still being built, has hosted wedding events, drawing complaints this year from neighbors. The county’s top building official told the appeals board the barn poses “life safety” issues as does not meet fire code.
The appeals board’s ruling stated the following:
• The building is being used for “both agricultural and public assembly use occupancy for weddings, wedding receptions and similar activities.
• The “assembly occupancies such as those are specifically regulated under the Ohio Building Code with respect to sanitation, fire safety, and life safety.”
• The barn was built without “first obtaining approval for assembly occupancy” by the county.
• A “public nuisance” finding by the county was made after it was determined “the failure of the applicant to comply with the standards applicable to assembly occupancies” under the Ohio Revised Code.
A local Ohio Farm Bureau member agrees with Powlette. Preble County Farm Bureau Trustee Amanda Badger has said the state’s agriculture exemption applies to Stoney Hill and other farms operating agritourism operations.
Powlette, meanwhile, faces legal issues in Miamisburg Municipal Court and Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.
He has pleaded not guilty in municipal court to a misdemeanor criminal charge involving a township zoning violation after neighbors made complaints about noise and patron conduct. A trial date is set for Nov. 26.
Powlette also challenged the township’s board of zoning appeals ruling of that violation. A hearing in county court has not been set yet, records show.