Commission Denies Permit for Event Barn

NORFOLK – Developers will have to look elsewhere to build a potential event center.

The Norfolk Planning Commission Tuesday voted 8-1 to deny a conditional use permit for an event barn to be built off of 49th Street in rural Norfolk.

Developers had sought to bring a new location for area families to hold weddings and other events, but in the end, the location was deemed too unsafe by the Commission.

“My largest concern last time, and still is, is the safety on 49th Street,” said Commission Chair Dan Spray. “I don’t feel like any of the conditions truly address that concern to me.”

The project received significant push-back from area residents, who expressed concerns over increased traffic on a gravel road – concerns that were echoed by members of the Commission.

“The safety is what I see in the end, and I don’t think it’s safe,” said Commissioner Dr. Zackary Gangwer. “How many DUI deaths or wrecks is worth it? Not even one to me.”

Another common point raised by many, even those against the project’s location, was that the event barn is a good idea, and city officials are hopeful that the permit denial doesn’t kill the project altogether.

“I know there’s interest in town,” Spray said after the meeting. “I’ve had people say ‘If this doesn’t work out, how can we get a hold of this guy? I know of something that could really help move this project forward.’”

How the Planning Commission voted on Tuesday’s event barn permit.

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