Warren County residents fighting wedding center development

A group of Warren County residents have appealed to a local judge to delay the start of construction on a wedding center in the neighborhood.

County officials have approved conditional use and building permits for Angela Norman, a Centerville-area businesswoman heading the Stone Valley Meadows wedding center project.

The permits were issued over the objections of more than two dozen residents living along Robinson-Vail Road, east of Interstate 75.

Lawyers representing the residents this month filed “an emergency motion to maintain the status quo” while their administrative appeal of the county approvals for construction of the wedding center was on appeal.

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Norman said she planned to begin construction on the project, including an 11,000-square-foot-center, in coming weeks.

“It’s the holidays,” she said. “Once that settles down, our plan is to build.”

The development is to be built on the 13 acres previously part of a Harp family farm along the two-lane running between Ohio 123 and Ohio 122 in Franklin Twp.

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Norman, who lives in Deerfield Twp., Warren County, said she “fell in love with the land” and followed the county process, including mitigating concerns for neighbors who attended hearings, including her new neighbor Larry Pockras.

Pockras still opposes the development, although landscaping and a wall are to buffer his backyard from the 109-car parking lot.

“It’s just heartbreaking to me,” Pockras said. “We moved out here to get away from this crap.”

In addition to court action, Pockras and lawyer John Phillips indicated the residents were considering the circulation of petitions calling for a referendum on the conditional-use regulations.

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The residents also are opposing proposed amendments to the regulations for wedding centers.

“It’s a mess,” Phillips said.

Norman said the wedding center was a better outcome than a subdivision of 30 or more homes. She showed videos and wood samples demonstrating the details she and her partners planned to include in the project.

“It blends in with the neighborhood,” she said. “My intent is not to come there and disturb him.”

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Norman and her partners are named as defendants, but the only lawyer listed to represent them or the county is Assistant County Prosecutor Bruce McGary.

“What’s happening there has nothing to do with me,” she said.

McGary declined to comment because the litigation was pending. He said his view on the Robinson-Vail residents’ appeal and motion would be in court filings due in January.

Phillips said he might file for a temporary restraining order delaying construction “now that they’ve moved a piece of equipment on to the site.”

“They’ve upped the ante,” he said.

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