DICKINSON — A Dickinson woman said she hopes to build a romantic wedding venue along Dickinson Bayou if her specific-use permit is approved by City Council. But some neighbors worry the event center would turn into a “party barn.”  

Property owner Marsha Millstid made the application for the specific-use permit for her property at 2839 Hughes Road. She said she hopes to build a barn-style structure in the middle of her heavily wooded 7-acre property. Millstid estimates 99 percent of her business will be for weddings.

“It will not be a party house,” she said.

Millstid said she knows the property is in a residential area and plans to be respectful of her neighbors.

“My goal is to not only be successful and have a top-notch venue that people are going to come to from miles around but to be a good neighbor,” she said.

The Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commission will host a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. today before making a recommendation on a specific-use permit. The Dickinson City Council will vote on the permit Feb. 25.

Some residents along the Dickinson Bayou are worried an events center would mean more traffic and noise and would upset the tranquil residential area.

Bill Schick lives near the proposed event center and said he is worried that instead of a quiet, wooded lot, he could soon be living next to a “party barn” that would host anything from weddings to family reunions or motorcycle club rallies.

“We are trying to preserve our residential, quiet life on the bayou,” Schick said.

Roger Sawyer said he lives across Dickinson Bayou from where the proposed event center and is worried about what the event center would mean for the bayou.

“We just don’t think it’s the correct location,” he said.

He said he’s worried that the permit would allow the owner to build a wide range of businesses, including a waterfront bar, on the property.

“Dickinson Bayou is really a family bayou,” Sawyer said. “You got water skiing. You got fishing. Every day, you got people out in canoes.”

But there are guidelines an event center in a residential area would have to follow, city administrators said.

According to city ordinance, a special event center is a private facility available for lease that’s primary purpose is to host “conferences, meetings, receptions, reunions, weddings or any other gathering (formal or informal) that is temporary in nature,” Kevin Byal, Dickinson’s chief building official, said in an email.

The facility would not be able to host overnight events, he said.

Millstid said she is trying to be respectful of the residents around her. She said she plans to add insulation to the building to reduce noise, and all events and receptions would be held inside the building.

Millstid said she was hoping to create a unique space for weddings, and the event center would not be a bar or have a dock for boat traffic.

“My concern is to make sure the neighbors are not bothered by this,” Millstid said. “I don’t want invest half-a-million dollars to have a complaint every time there is an event.”

At a glance

WHAT: Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. today

WHERE: City Council Chambers at City Hall, 4403 state Highway 3, in Dickinson

Contact reporter Christopher Smith Gonzalez at 409-683-5314 or chris.gonzalez@galvnews.com.


(7) comments

Lars Faltskog

If I lived around there, I'd want it to be voted down too by the planning commissions. Weddings (and their celebratory appendages) can be one of the noisiest, volitile, and disruptive kinds of parties/events.

They sure can be. I saw the movie, "Bridesmaids".

Katrina Evenhouse

We have a big party house 7413 Hughes Rd on the Frwy. I hope people have enough sense to get down to City Hall and say NO to the Party House.... Weddings are Loud and Late. Some of the Music is just awful. And the owners don't usally hang out to keep them quite.

tessa powers

I really wish people had more common sense. This will NOT be a party house or a place to arrive by and dock boats or hold "motorcycle rallies". Apparently, y'all haven't been to a high- end wedding/ reception. The venue will mostly hold weddings/ receptions with maybe a few corporate events, with such a price tag most would reserve such an expense for a once in a lifetime event. this will not be scene from a movie with hundreds of people stomppin in, in their trucks with people piling out and kegs of beer flying.
The land where this venue will be built is heavily wooded and 7 acres! I hope people can comprehend the amount of space this is. with the comments below, y'all must not have read or researched this topic. It is NOT a "party house". and it couldnt be too loud or late hours due to the city ordinances that will be strictly adhered to. Yes, the owner, wedding coordinator, security and parking staff will be on site at EVERY event until the last person leaves and all clean up crews have finished their duties; hence "high- end venue". Yes, by all means, please compare this topic to the MOVIE "bridesmaids", that seems very logical. This type of facility would be great for the City of Dickinson. It would bring in revenue for the "small" businesses, raise property values and bring in visitors from all over to see our cute little town..just to name a few. This comment doesnt even touch on most of what i have to say, like the romors going around and backstabbing neighbors. I completely understand peoples concerns fully and expect the owner to fulfil what she says with insulation and sound proofing. I have a feeing that if this whole process wasn't necessary and the barn was already built and in business the neighbors who are against this wouldn't even know or have anything to complain abaout. I truly hope people think about this over and over again. It would be an asset to the city.

Lars Faltskog

Response to cinderellatessa posted at 1:10 pm on Tue, Feb 18, 2014:

Well, that's the beauty of democracy, commissioners' court, and planning commisions. All sides (pro and con) present their issues, and a decision is made.

If it's allowed and the land's use is eventually executed toward the wedding venues, then the adjoining residents can either put up with it or move to desolate Montana. All I know is that I can't blame residents for wanting to preserve their peace and quiet. After all, there's many dance halls, reception halls and the like that attract big family crowds. Often, we hear in the news of a wedding party getting out of hand. It's not like other residents would be saying things like, "Oh, great. I've always wanted a wedding reception ballroom venue and barbecue party facility arena next to me." The noise and traffic would be inevitable.

But, at least it won't be like having a kennel or a firing range in close proximity. So, in conclusion, y'all have your work cut out for you: To convince the neighbors that the cons (noise, traffic) don't outweigh the pros (whatever they may be). I'm not not sure what would be "in" it for the neighbors. In other words, there doesn't seem to be too many "pros" for them.

Rainy Brown

If the city sets rules in line with what the owner says in her own words....Millstid said she is trying to be respectful of the residents around her. She said she plans to add insulation to the building to reduce noise, and all events and receptions would be held inside the building...then it's a better council than Galveston's.

Andy Aycoth

If yon ever issued any permits for business because of fear of noise , traffic ext. no businesses would ever be built.

Lars Faltskog

Response to Alvinbr62 posted at 7:23 am on Wed, Feb 19, 2014:

What you say definitely rings true. However, it differs between rural-ish sections of winding road outside of Dickinson and established urban non-zoned type places in either Galveston, Houston, or other urban area.

Folks in the urban areas are already used to businesses next to their residences, as it's already an urban field, so to speak.

I think of this stretch of area this story pertains as quite different. Even so, I wish the business folks the best of luck. Sounds like they have a battle.

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