Miami Twp. zoning board upholds wedding venue owner's citation

NEW DETAILS: Miami Twp. wedding venue in 2 court fights faces ‘life safety’ questions

Safety issues are being raised about a Miami Twp. wedding venue at the center of two court cases and a Montgomery County order.

“Life safety” is a concern at the Stoney Hill Bed and Breakfast for the top building official for the county, which issued a stop work order for the operation at 7757 Upper Miamisburg Road, where wedding parties have continued to occur.

Stoney Hill’s facility has one swinging exit door, but it moves inward and “that’s not an approved exit” for buildings permitted to hold more than 50 people, Maury Wyckoff, the county’s chief building official, told the board of building appeals Wednesday during a hearing on the order issued June 25.

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“On the very face of it, it shows a life safety issue that has been constructed inappropriately,” Wyckoff said to the Montgomery County Board of Building Appeals.

“And that doesn’t even get to whether or not there are exit signs or emergency lights and if you have if you have places of assembly…of over 100 people you have to have a fire suppression system,” he added.

The facility — a barn yet to be completed — has no oven, stove or grill, was built with the proper amount of drywall, and has fire extinguishers every 50 feet, Stoney Hill owner Darren Powlette, who said he has been building custom homes since 1994, told the board.

Powlette and his attorney, Greg Page, declined to comment or to address questions following the hearing, which ended after more than two hours with no decision by the board.

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The panel said it needs additional documents — including drawings and site plans — before announcing a ruling.

The county’s stop work order is one of three administrative or legal issues facing Powlette and his facility, which sits on a 26-acre site west of the Great Miami River outside of Miamisburg.

All three stem from Powlette’s belief his property has an agricultural exemption from township and county guidelines under the Ohio Revised Code.

Powlette has been charged in Miamisburg Municipal Court with violating Miami Twp. zoning codes. He pleaded not guilty in May to a misdemeanor criminal charge the venue violated a permitted use in an agriculturally zoned district. He faces a Nov. 26 trial date, court records show.

RELATED: Miami Twp. zoning board upholds wedding venue owner’s citation

Powlette has questioned the township’s jurisdiction in the zoning issue because his business is qualified to operate under the ORC’s agritourism guidelines.

Last month, he filed an administrative appeal with the county’s common pleas court, challenging the township board of zoning appeals’ finding that venue’s “activities do not satisfy the definition of agritourism under” the Ohio Revised Code.

The agritourism issue, nearby resident Dave Coffey told the appeals board, is a “cloak” to operate a “party barn” that “has put at risk 200 people because there is no fire protection.”

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