Red Lion sues Zoning Board of Appeals over its denial of outside wedding ceremonies

LionsHallSince the year 2000 Cohasset’s Red Lion Inn has permitted brides and grooms to hold a small wedding ceremony before proceeding to their gala at the Barn.

The wedding ceremony area exists on the easterly side of the Red Lion in an area which is grassed and landscaped. Fifteen to twenty ceremonies are tentatively scheduled to be held  outside this year. The outside wedding ceremonies are always held during daylight hours, typically from 4 to 6 p.m. and last approximately 15-30 minutes. Approximately 100-120 white chairs can be set up in the outside area.

The Cohasset Zoning Board of Appeals voted on March 4 to disallow any wedding ceremonies to be conducted outside on the premises of this 2.26+ acre parcel of land located in the business district of town. The ZBA only considered the bylaw. The Board said it would not consider evidence as to whether outside wedding ceremonies would have an adverse effect on the properties located in a residential district abutting the Red Lion, as that inquiry would have to be heard and determined by the Planning Board under the Special Permit Process.

Gerd Ordelheide, owner of the Red Lion Inn in Cohasset, located at 71 South Main Street, filed a complaint in Land Court on March 13th saying that the Special Permit he received in the year 2000 to build a function hall contained no conditions that would prohibit outside weddings. The only sound condition mentioned in the special permit was regarding noise from receptions after Midnight. There were no noise conditions with respect to daylight hours. Also, while wedding ceremonies were not a principal use, they are an permitted accessory use.

The Red Lion Inn’s attorney, Charles Humphreys, said that the ZBA incorrectly determined Section 4.36 of the Zoning Bylaws saying the ZBA had so narrowly defined the law that it would preclude Red Lion Inn clientele from not only hold a wedding ceremony, but it would also preclude them from “walking, sitting in the garden or otherwise congregating in the outside spaces of the Red Lion Inn.” Humphreys said the Red Lion Inn is allowed uses permitted as right or permissible on special authorization in any residential district.

Also, Humphreys noted that no other commercial or quasi-commercial venture in the Town required any special permit to conduct a wedding ceremony.


© Copyright 2015 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed