Spartanburg County wedding barn venue faces building code issue - FOX Carolina 21

Spartanburg County wedding barn venue faces building code issue ahead of busy wedding season

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(FOX Carolina)/April 4, 2018 (FOX Carolina)/April 4, 2018
INMAN, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Wedding season is almost here and an Upstate wedding venue is learning they may have to shut down if some changes aren't made. Now, they are fighting back and working to save their business.

Jody and Jerry Raines own Hampton Road Farms in Inman. While they are mainly a hay farm, they also use their barn for weddings-something that evolved after a bride called and asked to use their barn seven years ago.

Jerry Raines told us, "This is something that just evolved. One girl came she wanted to get married, the next girl came and she wanted to get married, there are no rules for that, this is part of agritourism."

They tell us the county said they weren't in compliance with some building codes, and in order to continue to operate, they would need to make some costly additions, including a sprinkler system and parking lot.

"We're not a commercial business, we operate roughly 96 hours a year as a wedding venue, we're not open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so that's the issue."

But those additions are something they say they can't afford and weren't even aware was needed. The news is impacting their business.

Jerry Raines said, "All the fall weddings we have booked, most of those have canceled.  We've refunded thousands of dollars because of this and we have brides calling every day wanting to schedule for next year, and we have nothing, we don't have any way of telling them what's going to happen."

Spartanburg County Council held their next meeting on April 16th. Councilman Bob Walker told us they are doing everything they can to help the wedding barn owners. He said they're looking to see if the barns can be classified in a way that would not require them to have sprinkler systems, but they're tying to figure out if the building code issue can be worked out at the state or county level.

He said the other route would be to get an architect to look at the barn and make a plan and tell council what is needed to meet the code.

Spartanburg County Administrator Katherine O'Neill provided us with this statement about the issues:

"The County received a complaint about several wedding/event venues that did not have approved building permits. County staff have visited six of these locations, with one more to visit this week. Of the six that have been visited, the County has provided three 90 day temporary use permits. The staff expects to issue one additional permit once requested information is received. Two venues do not have events scheduled and do not wish to make application at this time.  The 90 day temporary permits require the owner to provide a certificate of insurance that insures the facility for wedding and events, comply with conditions that the Fire Chief may require for life safety protection, and the 90 day timeline begins with the first wedding or event.  The staff is scheduled to provide an update and briefing to Council at the April 16 County Council meeting."

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