East Nantmeal: Welconweir catering change triggers conditional use review

A conditional use hearing was held for the Green Valleys Watershed Association on Jan. 6.

Weddings have been held on the spacious estate at Welconweir along Prizer Road since 2003. But since a new caterer, Robert Ryan Catering will manage the facility, a conditional use hearing was necessary to provide essential information and update what Welconweir wishes to do along with what East Nantmeal will require from them.

Township residents Nancy Locilento and Nancy Wodell had managed the catering from 2003 to 2012.

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Ed Bacon, member of the Planning Commission and a representative from the Green Valleys Association, owner of Welconweir, said there is enough parking which will not affect neighbor’s property. Anyone renting the facilities at Welconweir is responsible for providing a contract which complies with requirements from East Nantmeal Township and the Green Valleys Association.

Township Attorney Tom Oeste and Supervisor Bill Cochrane said the Green Valleys Association is responsible to set the rules for the caterer.

Requirements for controlling noise and following a curfew will be enforced said Bacon. The curfew at present is 11 p.m. The bar would shut down a half hour before the end of the affair, usually at 10:30. A decibel reading of 50 is permitted at the property line after 10 p.m. Compliance with the township noise ordinance is required. Events would be scheduled April, May, June, September and October. No events are planned in July and August.

Chairman Jim Jenkins said this is a dry township. He asked about liability for people leaving events there.

Oeste responded that it is not their responsibility, it is beyond their jurisdiction and that liquor would not be for sale.

There is interest in expanding events to private parties, funerals, anniversaries and birthdays. However, the number of events to be held at the location is no more than 20 per year.

The Green Valley’s Association holds educational events and programs for the area during the entire year said Victoria Laubach, director at Welconweir. The nature preserve and arboretum have provided work for East Nantmeal residents since 1997. Funds are needed for maintenance and to improve the nature conservatory. The limit is usually for no more than 150 guests. Traffic comes from Route 100 to Prizer Road. Local contractors are hired.

Neighbor Dr. Ruthben Wodell said he is concerned about the impact of renting out the facilities but he is also concerned about Welconweir. He said the needs of Welconweir have to be balanced with those of the neighbors since there is a new caterer. He is concerned about noise and traffic. Changes should apply to the house and barn ruins only and not on other areas of grounds. There is a concern about amplified sound traveling across the valley on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. He can hear the band at Owen J. Roberts High School playing at sports events. No parking should be permitted along Prizer Road or on private property. Any change in conditions should be monitored for a two year period to determine if they are suitable.

Bacon said all events will be finished by 11 p.m. and all guests will be gone by 11:30 p.m. The Wodells want all of the conditions written on paper and effective whoever is using the facilities.

Walbach said the State Police will be called in case things get out of hand. Both she and Ed Bacon live nearby. In the last 10 years there were many caterers involved.

In other news, a resident living along Fairview Road told Zoning Officer Chuck Cutlip that there has been a house trailer and two boats at a nearby residence. Cutlip said one boat is permitted within the proper setback. He will look into it.

In other news, a survey about a possible change to the postal address for East Nantmeal residents will be placed in the next township newsletter. The address change would be voluntary but Chris Giacopenella of the Environmental Action Committee said it would help to unify the township. Residents have zip codes of Elverson, Glenmoore and Pottstown. Through the newsletter, the survey would be available to all residents.

The Zoning Review Committee will meet on Jan. 13. The Historical Committee will meet on Jan. 15.

Jenkins will serve as chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Tyler Wren will serve as vice chairman. Bill Cochrane will serve as supervisor, The Township Building along Route 401 will serve as poling location for the May 20 and Nov. 14, 2014 elections.