As non-traditional business activities on Harford County farms continue to grow, a wedding venue and banquet facility is planned for a 138-acre farm near Deer Creek north of Hickory.
The proposed Stone Ridge Hollow venue would be built within and around an existing farm building off Walters Mill Road west of Route 543 on property owned by Brian Baker, according to a site plan reviewed Wednesday by the Harford County Development Advisory Committee.
A 4,250-square-foot existing building would house the wedding venue/banquet hall, with part of the structure continuing as storage for farm equipment, Bob Wilson, of the engineering firm Wilson, Deegan & Associates, of Fallston, told the review committee.
The building is accessed from a farm lane that runs from Walters Mill Road near its intersection with Victorias Way. There are houses in the area, but the venue building is set well back from the road, according the site plan. The property is in the Forest Hill ZIP code and partially bordered by Deer Creek.
Wilson said the building is 1,600 feet from Walters Mill Road and not visible from the road.
There was no opposition expressed from members of the public attending the review session, although one person in the audience asked how late into the night events can go.
Moe Davenport, the DAC chairman, replied that they must be over by 10 p.m., “according to the county code.”
Committee members reminded Wilson that Health Department approval is required both for the on-site, commercial grade sewage disposal system and the well or wells that will serve the facility. John Redline, representing the health department, said a new well may have to be drilled.
Wilson said an existing farmhouse on the site would not be available for overnight guest stays.
County zoning laws permit wedding and banquet facilities on farms, as well as craft breweries, vineyards and wine production, sale of farm products and baked goods produced on the farm, production and sale of custom made furniture and ag tourism activities.
Wilson also was reminded, however, that the Baker property has a Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation easement that restricts development, and the foundation must OK the proposed wedding venue use before the county will give its final approval.