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Concerns aired about Crockett Barn events

Lance Loomis and Paula Spina listen to comments made by neighbors during a meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss concerns about events taking place at the Crockett Barn, located in Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.   - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Lance Loomis and Paula Spina listen to comments made by neighbors during a meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss concerns about events taking place at the Crockett Barn, located in Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

More than 60 people crammed into the Commissioners Hearing Room in Coupeville Thursday afternoon to voice their opinions about a proposed event center located in the heart of Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve.

Crockett Barn owner Paula Spina is going through the county’s site plan review process that would allow her to operate a rural event center from her property located off Fort Casey Road.

Several neighbors criticized Spina’s plans, arguing that such a center would be too loud, attract too many people and harm the rural character of the reserve.

“We already have a rural event center in Island County and that’s the Greenbank Farm,” said Sue Symons, who is one of Spina’s neighbors. “We really don’t need another one in Central Whidbey.”

Dave Lassegues, who also lives near the Crockett Barn, was concerned about the number of people and cars the event center will attract.

“This just does not fit our rural, tranquil neighborhood,” Lassegues said.

He argued that the event center will diminish the property values of nearby homes.

“We were supposed to be protected from this type of entity,” Lassegues said.

The historic Crockett Barn can accommodate up to 200 people. Spina said she wants the event center to help pay the mounting costs of maintaining a historic building.

Plenty of people attending the community meeting supported Spina’s project.

Coupeville resident Ken Pickard said the Crockett Barn event center is a benefit to the whole community and he brushed off critics’ concerns.

“These people are the classic NIMBYs,” Pickard said. He added the Greenbank Farm doesn’t have a dance floor or hold as many people as the Crockett Barn.

He suggested that a decibel limit be worked into the site plan review, which outlines the conditions on the Crockett Barn’s use as an event center.

Nearby resident Jason Joiner, who was married at the Crockett Barn, argued that the event center is good for the local economy. He said his wedding cost $30,000 and 200 people attended. Many of those guest came from off-island.

Coupeville Town Councilman Bob Clay suggested that events can be limited by some reasonable number and pointed out many of the vocal neighbors have used the Crockett Barn to hold their own events.

Other residents expressed concerns about traffic safety. Some people suggested time limits and limiting the number of events that can take place throughout the year.

Spina volunteered to hold the community meeting to determine people’s concerns about the rural event center and find ways to mitigate those concerns.

Island County Hearing Examiner Michael Bobbink will decided whether to approve the rural event center. Senior Planner Andrew Hicks said the meeting before the Hearing Examiner will take place in late April or early May.

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