Central Whidbey's Crockett Barn event issues aired Thursday

Central Whidbey resident Paula Spina wants to hear her neighbors’ opinions about a county permit she’s trying to obtain that would allow her to continue holding events on her property, located near the Keystone ferry terminal in the heart of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

Spina owns the Crockett Barn. She’s holding a community meeting March 11 regarding a site plan review for a rural event center. She hopes to continue holding weddings and charitable events from the barn. However, the plan has raised some concerns.

“I guess the title started to scare my neighbors,” Spina said about the permit.

One of Spina’s neighbors, James Moore, said an event center could become a nuisance to the neighborhood and destroy the peace, quiet and rural character of the Reserve.

Moore is concerned about the number of events that could be held throughout the year and paricularly in the summer. Moore argued that there should be limits on the number of cars that can park at the Crockett Barn, and time limits on when events take place.

He added that the Greenbank Farm, which is publicly owned, already provides an ideal location for a rural event center.

The site plan review allows for conditions to be set on the property to mitigate residents’ concerns. Spina said she hopes the meeting will bring those concerns to the forefront.

“I’m doing this on a voluntary basis to bring some peace to the neighborhood,” Spina said.

She said she wants to continue offering events to help pay for the upkeep of the historic barn. She said the roof is starting to fall apart, the siding needs to be replaced and a weather barrier installed. In addition, the leaky cupola needs to be fixed.

Assuming the permit is approved, Spina said she hopes to continue offering the barn as a venue for weddings and art events such as ballet programs and Shakespeare performances.

She can currently hold events at the barn. However, she has to obtain a temporary use permit from the county for each event. Those permits currently costs $403 each. Andrew Hicks, senior planner for Island County, said the temporary use permit is only applicable as long as Spina continues the site plan review process.

Island County Hearing Examiner Michael Bobbink will ultimately decide whether to approve the site plan review, perhaps later this spring.

Hicks said county staff will make a recommendation to the hearing examiner after the March 11 community meeting.

He stressed that the community meeting isn’t to debate whether the site plan review should be approved, but rather to discover concerns and figure out ways to address them.

The meeting will take place Thursday, March 11 at 2 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Hearing Room, Courthouse Annex Building.

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