Wedding Venue Owner Could Continue To Operate

County officials say the company can apply for Temporary Outdoor Permits.

The wedding venue, Shade Trees and Evergreens in Walkersville, could continue to operate, according to Frederick County officials. They say the company can apply for up to 12 Temporary Outdoor Permits which would allow the wedding receptions to go forward. The permits would accommodate those activities through July 31st. The applicant would need to meet certain health and safety issues.

There is a building on the property which houses bridal suites, dressing rooms, bathrooms and gas fireplaces. County officials say Shade Trees and Evergreens cannot allow access to this building because it not been inspected. But Temporary Outdoor Permits do allow the applicant to set up event tents and portable toilets.

County officials say a greenhouse on the property could be used for events, but only after a structural engineering analysis is conducted, and the owner can demonstrate that the materials used are acceptable to the Fire Marshal’s Office.

Recently, Shade Trees and Evergreens and Caboose Farm in Sabillasville were  told by County officials to close their venues for weddings and other events because they lack the necessary building, occupancy, electric and plumbing permits, and their septic systems have not been inspected by the Health Department. “Neither had the zoning use approved. So they hadn’t gone through the zoning process to even have the event venue used. And then in both instances, there were facilities constructed with no permits of any kind,” says County Executive Jan Gardner.

She has come under some criticism for these actions taken against these businesses, but Gardner says the county staff was just doing its job. “We make sure public safety, health and welfare issues are addressed. That’s the entire role of the Planning and Permitting Department. We also want to make sure that we don’t have a fire risk, or we don’t have a health risk because we don’t want to see that happen to the public,” she says.

Last Friday, the Fire Marshal’s Office and the Health Department visited Shade Trees and Evergreens to inspect their venue, and decided to shut it down. Because of that action, Oakdale High School moved its prom to the Holiday Inn and Conference Center at the FSK Mall.

But Gardner says the county staff doesn’t just close down businesses which are not complying with county regulations. “We now will work with those property owners to try to bring them into compliance,” she says.

“We are very pro-business in Frederick County,” says Gardner. “My administration has certainly been very active in supporting the business community. But, again, we do need to protect public health, welfare and safety. It’s always a top priority.”

WFMD News spoke recently with Councilman Billy Shreve on this issue. He referred to County Executive Gardner as ‘the evil person who runs this county.” Gardner had this response. “I think there are at least two Councilmen who feel that is their job to just always criticize me, no matter what the topic is. And I really think that we really need to focus on the issues and let the rhetoric and name-calling be set aside.”