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Lynden Sculpture Garden proposes hosting weddings

Decision delayed; neighbors concerned about noise

April 20, 2013

River Hills - Special use permits for two organizations could be amended in an effort to expand the types of programs offered. River Hills officials are in the process of scrutinizing each request and soliciting feedback from residents.

Representatives from the Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W. Brown Deer Road, and University School of Milwaukee, 2100 W. Fairy Chasm Road, came before the Village Board last week and sought an amendment to the terms of their special use permits.

The board did not take action on either request, opting instead to get the word out to the community in the hopes of a robust discussion at their regular meeting in May.

While the overarching mission of the Lynden Sculpture Garden is to provide an array of educational programs, Executive Director Polly Morris said a proposal to hold five weddings annually would help offset some of the costs.

"We receive at least one inquiry a week about weddings at Lynden and could easily book weddings on the grounds throughout the summer months," Morris said. "However, we are sensitive to the needs and comfort of our immediate neighbors and are also committed to preserving public access to the gardens."

As proposed, Morris' proposal asks for permission to offer the five weddings on dates that would be announced well in advance. The plan, she said, would limit each wedding to no more than 200 guests. Music would be kept "at a reasonable volume" with no amplification after 11 p.m. and the grounds cleared by midnight.

Several residents living near the Lynden Sculpture Garden grounds did attend last week's board meeting and implored officials to deny the request, citing concerns about their quality of life.

Bruce Martin, who lives on land almost adjacent to the grounds, purchased his property more than 25 years ago.

"One of the things that attracted me … was the peace and tranquillity that parcel of land afforded me," Martin said. "I built a home and have made a significant investment. When you open the land to these types of activities, when will it end?"

Sue Weller, who lives adjacent to the grounds, was concerned about noise, possibly from rock bands or other musicians on the grounds.

"We are the ones who'd hear the noise the most," Weller said. "This would compromise our peace and tranquillity."

In response, Morris said there would not be any rock bands performing on the grounds. Her proposal entails higher-end weddings with correlating pricing.

While deliberating over the request, several board members expressed opposition to the plans.

"If I lived next door (to the Lynden grounds), my response would have been just what I heard tonight from the residents," Trustee Michael White said.

The board did not discuss University School of Milwaukee's amendment request, which could give the school more authority to broaden the types of programs offered at the facility and shorten the length of time needed to gain approval.

The Plan Commission last week discussed USM's proposal and forwarded it to the board with a favorable recommendation.

Both requests will be discussed and possibly acted on at the next regular Village Board meeting.

AT A GLANCE

WHO: River Hills Village Board

WHAT: further deliberation, possible decision on whether Lynden Sculpture Garden and University School of Milwaukee can amend special use permits

WHEN: 7 p.m. May 15

WHERE: Village Hall, 7650 N. Pheasant Lane

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