The first hurdle was cleared for a barn-style wedding and event venue in Oviedo’s historic downtown after the Local Planning Agency Board approved a land zoning change request for three acres near the corner of Oviedo Boulevard and Franklin Street on May 17.
City staff is currently reviewing a site plan for the proposed more-than-5,000-square-foot facility that owner Bonnie Marini said would accommodate up to 200 people and could be used for weddings or other large events. The venue would allow for a band stage and dance floor.
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Marini and her children, Natalie Teuchert (an Oviedo City Council member) and David Marini, own the property. Teuchert said she will recuse herself from voting when any matter concerning the property comes before the Council.
The Rev. Phyllis Rose Brown, pastor of Grant Chapel AME Church, which is across the street from the site, said during the LPA meeting that she didn’t think the proposed venue fits the culture of the community.
“What we need in our community is affordable housing. We don’t need a wedding barn,” she said.
Marini said she thinks the venue will fit well in the city’s historic downtown, which is slated to become more densely populated in Oviedo’s 25-year growth plan that was recently submitted to the state for review.
“Once it’s all built out, it will be a really fun place to be after rehearsal dinners and events. I think we’re going to be a really good partner for the other small businesses in the area,” she said, adding that the venue will need employees, interns and vendors.
Marini has two daughters, both of whom she said had to leave Oviedo to find a wedding venue.
“We saw a need in the community and we would like to use this location to fill that need. It’s something our group has been interested in and excited about for some time now and when this property came up, it seemed like the perfect time to do that,” she said.
Brown said she was also concerned about possible traffic impacts from this development.
“Franklin Street is a two-lane street that has a lot of traffic and there is nothing being done to alleviate traffic problems with this,” she said. “We already have problems with traffic in the area and the last thing we need is to have more traffic and to not be able to get to the venues that Grant Chapel has because you have parties going on across the street.”
Marini said she submitted a traffic study to the city. Oviedo Planning Manager Debra Pierre said traffic for an event venue might be different from other, conventional uses. She said the land had been zoned for office use.
“I’m not quite sure how they’re going to have it set up but I imagine the traffic is going to be different with that type of use as opposed to an office,” she said.
Marini said she sees this as an opportunity “to protect some of the few remaining green spaces around.” She said they plan to keep a lot of the plants on the property, including a large oak tree that “will be the centerpiece for wedding events.”
Marini said city staff will facilitate a meeting between the developers, Brown and several other church leaders who attended the meeting to air concerns.
“Hopefully we can address any concerns they may have and brainstorm some ways they can leverage having a venue like this around,” Marini said. “We want to work with the community. We are more than happy to sit down with anyone who has suggestions or concerns.”
See the full meeting here: