The venue adjacent to the Paradise Ridge Challenge Course south of Moscow has been a popular destination for weddings and other outdoor events the past nine years, but recent complaints from neighbors and the fact that the events were not permitted forced the Latah County Zoning Commission to step in Wednesday.
The commissioners — except for Brian Loomis, who recused himself from the discussion and decision because he is an adjacent property owner — amended the two existing conditional-use permits held by property owner David Port so they now can allow outdoor events, such as weddings, reunions and music festivals, at 1127 Paradise Ridge Road.
The conditions of the amended permit limit outdoor events to three days a week, disallow amplified music after 9 p.m. and require that events conclude by 10 p.m.
The previous permits allowed day camps, challenge course activities, indoor events and tent camping.
Port was unaware that the two existing permits and “recreational field” definition did not cover events on the property, according to Wednesday’s zoning commission packet.
There were no complaints since 2011 when the two permits were approved, but in August 2019, some neighbors issued complaints about the Paradise Ridge Music Festival that eventually took place on Paradise Ridge Road later that month.
“It was our endeavor to be good neighbors with everybody else,” Port said. “We’ve always done that.”
The festival was not allowed under the existing permits, so Port applied for, and the Board of County Commissioners approved, a large gathering permit application the week of the music festival.
When county officials became aware of the other outdoor events Port held over the years, they requested that he submit an amendment to his two existing permits.
Port told the zoning commission on Wednesday that he did not anticipate weddings and other events to be held at his outdoor venue when he applied for the permits in 2011, but people started inquiring about hosting weddings on his property after he restored and added on to a house on the property.
Port said six weddings and the music festival were held on his property last year, and he estimated a maximum of 10 events each year in the near future.
Three people spoke during the public hearing Wednesday.
One man represented the South Latah Highway District and said if the outdoor events lead to increased traffic on the 1.3-mile gravel road leading to Port’s property, then perhaps the highway district should be compensated for the increased maintenance that would result. He said the district spends about $17,500 on that gravel section of road.
Zoning commission Chairman Patrick Wilson said the commission does not have authority to allocate money to the highway district.
An adjoining property owner to Port voiced concerns about noise and traffic issues from weddings and worries the problems will continue.
Zoning commission Vice Chairman Brian Loomis, who was allowed to speak during the public hearing and who said he had a neutral view on the permit amendment application, lives nearby on Paradise Ridge Road. He said he enjoyed the music festival last summer.
“I am in favor of property owners being able to use their property for what they would like to, as long as they can get the approval of the commissioners and make it happen,” Loomis said.
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to email@example.com.