Vesecky Family Farm
John and Sharon Vesecky say they are looking for ways to expand their farm income while providing a rural entertainment venue for visitors.
The rural Baldwin City couple want to start an outdoor dinner theater and farmers market and provide a site for boat storage.
"We're just trying to create a rural experience that will be relaxing for people," Sharon Vesecky said. "We're just trying to make a living."
Tonight the Douglas County Commission will take up a request from the Veseckys for a permit that would let them see their proposal to fruition.
The Veseckys' farm at 1814 N. 600 Road, which is just north of the Douglas State Fishing Lake, is in an area zoned for agriculture. The Veseckys' proposal would require commissioners to approve a conditional use permit, which would be good for 10 years with a review after five years.
Permit requirements call for a tree-and-berm landscaping screen around the boat storage site.
The Veseckys' farmers market plan calls for constructing a 1,000-square-foot building where they could sell their farm products. The dinner theater would be limited to three events per week. It would have seating for 150 guests.
A caterer would prepare food for the dinner theater, Sharon Vesecky said.
"We'd like to show them some down-home hospitality and most of all some good old down-home cooking," she said.
A petition signed by 10 people who oppose granting the permit recently was turned in to the county clerk's office. The main concerns are increased noise and traffic.
Sharon Vesecky said she doesn't think the proposal will significantly increase traffic.
"We're thinking of some nice, gentle theater productions," she said. "I wouldn't be opposed to having a nice string quartet come out to play, but I definitely don't want a rock concert."
Commissioners also will take up a request for a permit for a planned corporate retreat at East 600 and North 1800 roads, about 2 1/2 miles southeast of Lecompton. Developer DFC of Lawrence, in conjunction with architect Paul Werner, has made the proposal for 353 acres owned by John T. Stewart.
Initial plans call for building a country club and chapel. Long-range plans include building cabins for overnight stays and recreational areas. The area is zoned for agricultural use, but the development would be allowed under a conditional use permit.
In January developers went before the Douglas County Zoning Board to seek a permit so alcohol could be sold. Selling alcohol is forbidden in an agriculture zone. The board rejected the request.
A report by the county's planning staff says alcohol could be served at catered events by caterers with a liquor license.
On another matter, commissioners will consider a preliminary plat for Stonewall Farms addition, about a mile northwest of Lawrence at North 1800 and East 1000 roads, north of the Kansas Turnpike.
Commissioners will meet at 5 p.m. to discuss the county budget. At 6:35 p.m. they will take up their other business.