A group of residents who live along and near the 3900 block of Alamance Church Road near the intersection of Alamance Church Road and NC 62 are still complaining about large parties that are being held on three acres of land close to them.
The issue of noise, traffic and trash led to a ruffling of feathers of some senior residents in the area that hit the fan on Saturday, Sept. 2, when a loud party went well into the night and violated the county’s noise ordinance.
Residents who’ve been displeased with large gatherings on the property for years were dismayed to see that, the very next weekend, there was another large party.
Now, Guilford County staff is looking into the situation.
This week, Guilford County Planning and Development Director Leslie Bell said his department is checking to determine if the property is being used in a legally permitted manner.
He said it was his understanding that the farm had been designated as one approved for agritourism, which does allow certain events to take place. The designation was created years ago, he said, to help farm owners monetize their land in different ways.
Usually those involve farm related activities such as corn mazes, farming, ranching, harvest-your-own activities, hunting, fishing, equestrian activities and natural activities and attractions.
Bell said it was his understanding that the land got the designation in 2006.
John Shae, a long-time resident who lives near the property in question, said it’s been an issue for years but it’s been getting worse lately – bigger and louder. He said the land owner is abusing the agribusiness designation and has used it to turn the place into a wholesale events center for every kind of concert, wedding or party.
On September 2 it was a large group of people mainly from Siler City there to celebrate a wedding.
On Saturday , Sept. 9, a man and his son who had read about the parties in the Rhino Times, drove there, walked the 200 yards to the stage area and asked what the gathering was about,” Shea said.
The man and his son got the response “A Celebration of Life!”
“The owner has a State Authorization for a working farm Agritourism – but it’s my opinion she is using this not as a vehicle for educational purposes but to enrich herself by having these hootenannies,” Shea said.
“Another point is that we do not know who these people are who are attending these gatherings,” he said. “This is unsafe and the county or state are not protecting the citizens and have not completely thought this agritourism concept out. These are not school children arriving on a school bus during the morning or early afternoon. There are many expensive vehicles in the field where they park.”
“This is not a working farm,” he said. “It’s my understanding that it has to be a working farm to obtain an Agritourism permit.“
“Regardless, these events should not be happening,” he added.