Mark Black Wedding Venue approved by city council

The Mark Black Venue once again filled city hall to capacity.

By: 
John Pacheco

 

The City Council approved the Mark Black Wedding Venue at 130 W. Concord Circle in Driftwood at its Tuesday March 13 meeting.

Present for the council meeting were Mayer Todd Purcell, Mayor Pro Tem Bill Foulds, Council Member Taline Manassian, and Council Member Wade King. The venue passed by a vote of two to one, with Foulds and Manassian voting for, and King voting against. Not present for the meeting were council members Travis Crow and John Kroll.

As in the previous city council meeting on February 20, in which the venue was tabled, this city council meeting was also heavily attended by members of the Friendship Alliance, a coalition of property owners associations and residents opposed to the development of the 64-acre property by Mark Black. The proposed venue will have house two separate wedding venue buildings, which combined will handle an estimated 600 guests at one time.

In a brief statement to the Century News, Terry Black said of the passage, “We are pleased with the ruling made by the city council for the approval of our site development permit. It was a long awaited and highly scrutinized process that ultimately made our development better. We would like to thank the city officials, staff, citizens, and our team for all the effort in making sure this is a world class development.”

The Friendship Alliance also issued a post meeting statement, which is published in its entirety near this article.

Despite the Public Hearing taking place at the February 20 City Council Meeting, Mayor Purcell allowed a heavy queue of approximately 38 people to address the matter once more during the opening presentation of citizens portion of the meeting. Many of which were given some variance to go beyond their allotted two minutes.

During that portion, area residents addressing the council reiterated the three concerns that have remained at the core of opposition to the wedding venue development:

One- that the venue will cause additional pollutants into the water table as well as cause erosion in an environmentally sensitive area.

Two- that the additional traffic will cause serious traffic choke-points in the event of an emergency evacuation.

Three- that the wedding venue is inappropriate given the existence of religious properties next door.

During the presentation of citizens, one unique comment stood out. Bob Logan, who owns the adjoining property, said that he would be interested in buying the property from Mark Black, and urged the developers to give him some time to put an offer together.

In discussion before the vote, city council members heavily questioned engineers on their environmental estimates, and how those estimates had been arrived at.

After the vote to approve, many in the audience spoke in loud voices protesting the vote. Cries of “This is not over,” and similar statements were common as people left the meeting.

Mayor Purcell, speaking to the representatives of Mark Black, said that while the vote had been in their favor, he strongly advised them to put a “For Sale” sign on the property and not develop due to the heavy opposition by area residents. “

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