GHENT — The Ghent Planning Board will vote next month on a proposed family-run wedding venue at Locust Hill Farm.

Kirk Kneller of Pin Oak, LLC, is applying for a site plan review and special use permit to turn a storage barn into a wedding venue on 5 Stockport Road in Ghent. The property is on the corner of Route 9H and Stockport Road and borders Love Apple Farm and two residential properties, according to the application. The barn sits on 28 acres of Kneller’s family farm, he said Monday.

The 6,200-square-foot barn was built in 2019 by L.D. Coon and Son, of Ghent. The barn has a maximum occupancy of 299 people and is part of the Locust Hill Farm on George Road, according to the application.

Kneller’s daughter Lauren Merante is the manager of the barn. The structure was built for her August 2019 wedding and was going to be used later for storage before inquiries for the wedding came in, she said Monday.

“After pictures from my wedding were shared on social media, people became very interested and wanted to have their wedding there,” she said. “We talked about it and decided that this could be something really beneficial for the area.”

The venue, called The Barn at Locust Hill, has a website set up with an option to inquire about an event date. The website has photographs from two previous weddings at the venue, both in 2019.

The town passed a special events permit law Jan. 1, 2020, that requires a special events permit, Merante said. The family began the permitting process in July.

While the website is live, any planned events are pending board approval of the application, with the exception of the Columbia Memorial Hospital Benefit Gala, Merante said. The hospital will use the barn free of charge for the fundraiser.

The board asked Kneller and Merante to add to their application that acoustic music may be played outside during ceremonies as well as amplified music, and that doors and windows remain closed when music is played inside the barn, Chairman Geoffrey French said Friday. The board will vote on the proposal May 5.

It is likely all board members will be in favor of the application once the revisions are made, French said at the board meeting April 7.

Merante said the board waiting to vote at the next meeting will not be an issue.

The venue will have no more than one event a week and no more than 12 events a year, according to the application. The proposed hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

The barn will be used for equipment storage from November to March, according to the application.

An Oct. 2, 2020, sound study by Griggs-Lang Consulting Geologists and Engineers, P.C., of Troy, tested DJ music with barn doors open and closed. It was determined by senior geologist Ian White that the noise levels would not have a significant impact on the surrounding community with doors open or closed.

Music played outside the barn will end by 7:30 p.m. Music inside the barn will be shut off by 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

(1) comment

George M

Hmmm. If the proposed hours end at 10:30pm how is it that the music ends at 11pm?

It is a beautiful barn that was quite expensive. I sincerely doubt that it was ever intended for storage. No doubt hosting weddings etc was always the intended use.

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