Residents living along Churchville's Glenville Road say they will fight revised plans for a wedding venue on an agricultural property in their neighborhood owned by Tim and Lisa Limberger, even though use of the proposed building will be geared to equine activities, with weddings as a secondary use.
Fred Ford, who lives across Glenville Road from the Limberger's 51-acre property, said residents do not want to see any commercial venues in the area and noted the Limbergers have not spoken with the vast majority of their neighbors. He is acting as spokesperson for the opponents.
Ford said residents plan to come out in force to a second community input meeting scheduled for Wednesday night at Harford Technical High School, beginning at 6 p.m.
An earlier meeting last summer drew hundreds of opponents to Harford Community College, after which the Limbergers scaled back their building plan and modified the intended use.
In his opinion, Ford said, the change in focus from a wedding venue to one geared to equine events is just a bait-and-switch tactic,
"Your dream, your passion is our nightmare," Ford wrote in a letter sent Saturday to his neighbors, which referred to Tim Limberger's statement published in The Aegis Friday that the family was passionate about the project and wanted to share the property with others.
"Commercial venues have no place smack dab in the middle of our well founded residential neighborhood," Ford wrote.
Both the county planning department and the Limbergers' lawyer say the proposed use is permitted under the county's agricultural zoning regulations, which have been altered over the years to allow rural landowners more income-producing options on their properties.
The community input meeting is a requirement, however, because of the additional traffic expected to be generated by the new activity on the Limberger property.
The Limbergers announced they would modify their plans to a parking lot with roughly 60 spaces, instead of more than 100 proposed originally, as well as construct a smaller building than originally proposed, with a more rural exterior.
Ford said neighbors continue to be concerned about traffic generated by the project, which is still set to be called The Regent at Stone House and, Ford said, is still being marketed primarily as a wedding and event site online rather than an equine facility.
"The Limbergers still plan to offer all the same venues described in the original presentation. They are just adding equine activities," Ford wrote in his letter to neighbors.
"As of today, their website still is advertising the same venue and has added a picture of a horse. This begs the question: Why do they require this large paved parking lot with lights if equine events are now their primary interest?" he wondered.
Ford said residents are concerned about "the safety of all of our community as affected by traffic and introduction of hundreds of strangers weekly, the negative impact on ecological sanctity of our pristine community, along with the already realized and future projection of reduced real estate values."
"Every neighbor who was against this proposal in August remain that way to our knowledge," he wrote. "Our supporters are still numbering well over 400 persons conservatively and growing daily. In the last two weeks alone, we have distributed over 20 new No Regent signs."
"I have lived in Churchville for [more than 30] years and always found my neighbors to be wonderful, cordial people. This attempt to vilify us is laughable," Ford wrote, as he urged his neighbors to attend Wednesday's meeting.