Tie vote, neighbors' objection sink plan for Bartlett wedding venue

A proposal for an all-inclusive wedding venue in Bartlett, to be called Ashton Gardens, has died after a tie vote by trustees.

Though Village President Kevin Wallace normally would have cast a tiebreaking vote, two factors required at least four of the six trustees to vote in favor of the plan for approval -- making his vote moot, he said.

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One was that more than 20 percent of the adjoining property owners had filed an objection to the proposal, Village Attorney Bryan Mraz said. The other was that the zoning board of appeals' 3-2 vote in favor of a parking variation was not enough to constitute a formal recommendation.

The residents behind the objection, who ultimately persuaded half the trustees to vote against the proposal, cited concerns about increased traffic, drunken driving and noise in their neighborhood.

Wallace said he could see both sides of the argument but, had he been required to break a tie, he probably would have voted in favor of the plan because he believes a wedding venue at the intersection of Devon and Prospect avenues would have been better than a strip mall or many other potential future uses of the site.

While he understands the neighbors' objections, he said his job is to look out for the interests of the entire village. The impact of a wedding venue only occasionally in use would have been far less than the impact of most other businesses, he added.

No alternative location has been proposed by representatives of Texas-based Ashton Gardens -- at least not in Bartlett, Wallace said.

"They did a lot of homework of where they wanted to be," he added.

Ashton Gardens President Brad Schreiber could not be reached for comment Monday.

The company's proposal was for a 4,500-square-foot chapel and a separate reception building that would allow wedding attendees a quick and easy trip between the two.

On-site security would have ensured wedding attendees left the property in a safe manner, while the building's walls and privacy fence would have screened neighbors from sight and sound, Schreiber said previously.

Bartlett resident Eric Shipman said his concerns were a little different from those of closer neighbors, as he lives about half a mile away. He was mainly worried about a large vacant building being left behind near a residential area if the business failed.

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