County council expected to tackle 'party farms' controversy

JOHNS ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County Council expected to tackle the so-called "party farms" controversy on Tuesday night.

Some residents on Johns Island and Wadmalaw Island are opposed to current rules that allow owners of property on farmland to use or rent out their property for weddings and other special events.

The owners of Hart Meadow Ranch on Edenvale Road got initial approval from the Charleston County Board of Zoning Appeals to host weddings and other events.

Late Monday afternoon the board voted to allow the ranch to continue hosting events after another attempt by opponents to reverse the decision.

Joe Boykin lives on a plantation on Johns Island. Boykin has several concerns about the special event venues. He says he is worried about noise and drinking and driving.

"The folks are letting loose at 10,11 o'clock at night down these deserted shoulder less dark roads and trying to get home," Boykin said. "And we're concerned because that's our primary way to get to our homes."

Alesandra Rain owns Hart Meadow Ranch. Rain says she went beyond the county's requirements and plans to have a soundproof building for the music and off-duty officers to control traffic.

"People just run off with this idea of a party farm, rock concerts and out-of-control traffic and it couldn't be further from the truth," Rain said.

Susan Jones says she supports the ranch hosting special events.

"I think it's a misunderstanding in a lot of these parts," Jones said. "They don't really know actually what is happening here or will happen here."

Boykin says he understands these property owners want to make some money but he says residents have their rights too.

"Theres got to be a balance between both," Boykin said.

Charleston County Council will consider changes to the special event ordinance on Tuesday night.

Those changes could include capping the number of special events each year, the number of people allowed to attend an event and noise restrictions.

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