A proposal by Green Table Farm near Mancos to hold events hit a snag in the Montezuma County Planning Commission on Sept. 14.
Farm owner Tyler Hoyt is seeking a high-impact permit and special-use permit to hold a variety of small events, such as fundraisers, weddings and educational events at his family farm off Colorado Highway 184.
“The main goal is to expand our agriculture business by hosting on-farm dinners for our customers, but also to have farm-to-table weddings and educational events,” he said. “We see an opportunity to expand into the realm of agritourism and sell the farm experience.”
He said he does not expect to have more than five events per year, and said they would be smaller scale and not go late into the night.
But several neighbors voiced concerns about the plan, saying it lacked specifics. They also expressed worry about increased traffic, hours of events and noise.
“The permit application does not specify how often events will take place, if there will be music, or how late they will go on for,” said neighbor Allan Farnsworth.
Howard Kantor, of the nearby Sun West subdivision, said that he lives in the area for the peace and quiet, and “would not have bought here if I knew it was going to be next to an event venue.”
Planning Commissioner Bob Clayton agreed that the proposal needs more specifics, but he added that each event would be reviewed for impacts with input from neighbors. He added that “a few events per year would not ruin anyone’s life. Property rights extend to both sides of the fence,” he said.
Hoyt was urged to submit an updated application with more details including event hours, amount of people, parking and bathroom accommodation for guests, whether there will be camping or live music, and a plan for traffic control.
“This is our first stab at this, so we are learning as we go,” Hoyt said.
Planning Director LeeAnn Milligan said public and commercial events that exceed county threshold standards, such as more than 15 round trips per day, require county notification, review and approval to ensure neighbors have been notified and impacts are controlled.
The planning board said the issue could not be decided before Sept. 30, when a farm-to-table fundraiser has been scheduled to benefit the School to Farm program.
Neighbors in the room did not object to allowing the first event as long as the long-term proposal was resubmitted and reviewed again at the next planning meeting scheduled for Oct. 12.
The planning board mostly agreed, and commissioners voted 4-1 to recommend to the county commission that the first event be allowed to go on with certain contingencies, including no camping, quiet time beginning at 7 p.m., event signs on the highway, and portable restrooms.
The Montezuma County Commission will consider a variance to allow the first event at its meeting on Sept. 25.