Ligonier and farm owners reach agreement on hosting weddings
By Jewels Phraner
Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Here come the brides — 11 of them that will still be permitted to hold their nuptials at Foxley Farm in Ligonier Township.
Despite a question of the legality of hosting large events at the farm, 11 weddings previously scheduled there will still be permitted to go on.
Two weeks ago, Ligonier Township officials filed a request for an injunction to halt overnight stays and large events from taking place at Foxley Farm, located off Barron Road.
An agreement was reached Friday afternoon between Ligonier Township officials and farm owners PJ and Maggie Nied. Attorney Bill Sittig, who represents three neighbors who have voiced opposition to such events at the farm, also participated in the negotiations for the consent order.
The settlement negated the need for a hearing that had been scheduled by Judge Richard E. McCormick.
Ligonier Township supervisors must vote on the agreement at a public meeting, township solicitor Judith Ciszek said.“I'm just happy the brides are safe,” Maggie Nied said, after attorneys and officials spent nearly five hours negotiating the three-page document.
Additional weddings, along with other events and overnight stays, are prohibited from being scheduled or advertised, under the terms of the settlement.
Neighbor Christopher Turner said he is satisfied with the agreement.“We didn't want to see the brides harmed. Under the circumstances this was the best outcome we could have hoped for,” Turner said.
“A lot of innocent people would have been hurt if my clients didn't take the high road,” added Sittig. “I'm proud to say my clients took the high road.”
The agreement stipulates that the Nieds will withdraw an appeal challenging a decision issued in February by the Ligonier Township Zoning Hearing Board.
The board said the township ordinance does not permit paid events, such as weddings, to be held in the residential neighborhood where the farm is situated.
Attorney Scott Avolio, representing the Nieds, said the issue will go back to the township.
“We look forward to working with the township so the (zoning) ordinance can be updated and amended to reflect activities that are already going on in the township,” Avolio said. “And we look forward to making the acceptable activities at Foxley Farm fit in with the consistency of the neighborhood, which is wedged between two private clubs and one public club.”
Township supervisors Keith Whipkey, Tim Komar and Grover Binkey declined to comment.
Jewels Phraner is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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