Marriage is a brisk trade in Dallas County, and a country wedding is the dream of many young couples in the metro’s growing western suburbs. Local businesses are ready at hand to satisfy these happy hopes, from jewelers and gown makers to reception planners and DJs.
A sign of the growth in this energetic business sector appeared in two recent applications for conditional-use permits brought before the Dallas County Planning and Zoning Commission. In both cases, the landowners want to open rural wedding venues, but some of their plans have met resistance by local farmers who see the developments as intrusive.
“This is ag land,” said Frank Drobnich, who farms next to one of the proposed rural wedding sites west of Granger. “I am not real keen on it because that means there is going to be more traffic on that road. That means if they are having a wedding, they won’t want me spraying or hauling manure or doing anything out there. I don’t think they really want my tractor running when they are trying to give their vows,” he said.
Drobnich addressed the county planning and zoning commission Jan. 20 about Matt and Kristen Miner’s application for a conditional use permit. The Miners, from Granger, do business as Dallas Chic and want to build a wedding and event barn on land they own on the southeast corner of County Road F31 and V Avenue, about two miles west of Granger and directly south of Drobnich’s cropland.
This is ag land, and I am a farmer. I absolutely do not want this out there. I absolutely do not. It is ag land.
Drobnich was not alone in his opposition to the Dallas Chic application. He was joined by neighbors and fellow farmers Gene Jennings, Thomas Manning and Jeanne Lubans, who each spoke against issuing the conditional-use permit.
Jennings, whose sod farm adjoins the Miner property on the south and east, was concerned about vehicles crossing his land, “as a sod field is pretty inviting to drive across,’ he said. The Miners assured him that fencing and parking arrangements would protect his field.
“Granger has four places that are well suited for weddings and receptions,” said Manning, who raises cattle on V Avenue to the south of the proposed wedding chapel. “I see no purpose of adding another one to the selection. They’re having trouble renting some of them out now,” he said, “so I am definitely not for it.”
Lubans’ concerns were similar to Drobnich’s: “We already have about 30 houses in the middle of our operation, and we have got conflicts every month,” she said. “It is not easy to get your farm operation done if you are spraying or fertilizing or whatever. What are these people going to do in the middle of a wedding?”
If Matt and Kirsten Miner get their way, this open field west of Granger will be developed as a venue for weddings and other events. The Dallas County Planning and Zoning Commissions approved the Miners’ application for a conditional-use permit, which will now go before the county zoning board of adjustment.
Responding to these concerns, Dallas Chic attorney Adam Doll said, “My clients have done a lot of homework on this. They know the demand that is out there for a wedding like this.”
The Miners “have an amazing vision,” Doll said. “There is nothing like this around, the capacity that they are going to have, a wedding of 300.”
Doll said the Miners are “fully aware of the setting that they are coming into. They know that this is primarily agricultural land, and they know that they have no right to make you stop your business. They respect that and appreciate that,” he said.
Drobnich was not persuaded: “This is ag land. This is not in town,” he said. “This is ag land, and I am a farmer. I mean I don’t want this out there. I absolutely do not. It is ag land. I farm for a living. I want to stay being a farmer. I mean that is why I live out in the country. I have lived there since 1978, and I don’t want it there.”
Lubans was also skeptical: “But if somebody gets sick from the spray, how does that work?” she said. “If somebody at your wedding gets sick from the chemicals?”
Kirsten Miner said the Dallas Chic contract would include liability waivers. “That would have to be contractual that the bride would have to sign off of,” she said.
After receiving comments from Samuel Larson of the county planning office concerning dust control and parking control along V Avenue, the commission voted unanimously to pass the proposal along to the county’s zoning board of adjustment with a recommendation to approve it.
“This is just the first step,” Dallas County Planning and Zoning Commission Chair Craig Walter said.
“The Board of Adjustment will make a final decision at a later meeting,” Larson said.
A second proposed wedding venue met far less local resistance. An 85-year-old brick barn on the farm of James Keller, southeast of Dallas Center, would serve the same purpose as the new structure planned by the Miners.
We would very much like to do it, but if not, I’ve got my barn, and it is a good place to hang out in. That is what it will be should you not let us proceed.