Judge's order approves permit, allows weddings to continue at Madison, Indiana venue

Madison wedding venue allowed to continue operation

MADISON, IN (WAVE) -  Some soon-to-be grooms and brides who found their wedding dates at risk over a permitting issue at a popular wedding venue once again have a secure wedding location.

A judge ruled Monday that an immediate permit be issued for White Barn Venue, after the city of Madison's planning and zoning board denied its renewal weeks earlier, following complaints by the venue's neighbors.

Shelly and Bryan Dews said they were shocked when their permit was pulled by the city. The Dews said they've only ever had one complaint by a neighbor over the noise and worked to address it. Since their opening last year, they said, they've spoken with neighbors about their barn-wedding style wedding venue in the country just outside of Madison, Indiana.

"We made it a point to ask them, is the music okay, are the lights bothering you?" Shelly Dews said.

Brides like Zoe Mires say they didn't know what they and their 200 guests would do when they found out their weddings were at risk. It was important, Mires said, for her and her fiance to get married in Madison where they met, and to use local vendors. With their venue in jeopardy, she said they felt stuck.

"About a month out, we weren't sure if we were going to have our wedding at the White Barn," said Zoe Mires. "Which kind of threw our wedding bliss into a little bit of confusion."

Some neighbors tell me their problem is with the amount of noise coming from weddings at White Barn Venue. Others say their issue with White Barn stems from the area's residential and agricultural, not commercial, background.

Kathy Ayers owns Windy Hill Bed and Breakfast down the road from White Barn.  She said the traffic from these weddings is dangerous on the windy, rural road near her business.

"I've had guests tell me 'we love your place, but we don't want to pass all that traffic' and I don't blame them," Ayers said.

After weeks of weddings in flux, a judge's decision Monday will give White Barn its permit back, allowing the 23 weddings already scheduled for this year, to be held there.

Ayers says that reversal is frustrating for some of those living nearby.

"I feel like the right decision was made," Ayers said.  "And I feel like the judge maybe didn't give it a fair consideration from where the neighbors are."

Not all the neighbors near White Barn are against the wedding venue's continuation. For Shelly and Bryan, this decision is a relief for themselves and their business, as well as for the brides and grooms now able to walk down the aisle.

Shelly said she called the brides after she got the news Monday.

"All of them were certainly in tears," Shelly said. "They were very excited. We're just really relieved for our brides, for us, it's been an emotional rollercoaster. We are just so relieved and overjoyed. Just can't begin to tell you how overjoyed we are. This has been very difficult and devastating to us. It's everything we've had, we've invested everything we've had into this barn."

"And I'm so happy that other brides are going to have their special day there just like I am," Mires said.

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