Archive for Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rural couple seek permit for theater

Business would include market for farm produce, ‘down-home’ meals

John Vesecky, looks over a hay field of his on Tuesday, while Douglas County Commissioners have been looking over two requests for outdoor venues owned by Vesecky,  who wants to have a farmers market and and a dinner theater on his land.

John Vesecky, looks over a hay field of his on Tuesday, while Douglas County Commissioners have been looking over two requests for outdoor venues owned by Vesecky, who wants to have a farmers market and and a dinner theater on his land.

July 17, 2007


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.


Melanie Birge 10 years, 9 months ago

Good Luck to you! Sounds like a great idea.

LogicMan 10 years, 9 months ago

Just be sure to bring lots of bug spray ...

Angie Dick 10 years, 9 months ago

I think the outdoor dinner deal would be really neat! Play some blue grass or soft country music.. That would be so relaxing. Get your belly full on some home made cooking. Buy ya fresh farm veggie's on your way out.. oo yeah! Country boy's and Girl's getting down on the Farm! lol Really, I live on a farm and nothing compairs to getting out the lawn chairs, cooking home-made food, garden veggies, home-made ice cream and listening to music. Visiting with family and friends. I hope they get approved, I'd go! That Would be a fun family event! I am all for it!

farmgal 10 years, 9 months ago

Good for them for getting creative. I hope it works out well for them & that they get the approval they need. & so true on the bug spray, even though I haven't used it in years. Kansas is brutal for the bugs with our high humidity. It takes a lot of the joy out of being outside once the wind dies down every evening.

samsnewplace 10 years, 9 months ago

Best of luck to you, sounds like a wonderful idea!!!

gr 10 years, 9 months ago

"Many of the roads are narrow with limited visibility (hills and the like) and are really unsafe for anything more than modest traffic traveling at slow rates of speed."

"and boats on the lake are rare."

"Not to throw cold water on the idea, but there's no way 150 people come out three times a week"

"How much traffic will that engender just to prepare the meals three times a week?"

"what parking facilities will be required"

Not much, if not many attend. Few boats, few people, few caterers, few vehicles, few parking needed, not much use, no objection needed.
Thank you for answering your own questions.

softtalker 10 years, 9 months ago

Logrithmic get a life, i live in the country. I promise you there are more wrecks in town on the actual streets then they are in the country on gravel roads. Gravel roads have speed limits of 35 for a reason. If gravel was such a threat to everyone, then they would do something about it but since your just driving on rocks. I dont see the problem. wow 2 wrecks.. thats life, and more then likley the people that were driving caused it themselves not the rocks that dont move.

farmgal 10 years, 9 months ago

Personally, I would rather live next to a dinner theatre such as this as next to the row-cropper who comes in several times a year to put down some toxic chemicals that blow over and damage my flowers and garden. Todays farming equipment (tractors, etc.) is the size of the grand canyon--talk about dust!

It's gravel roads. Yes, it's dusty. It's the country. Slow down and show some common courtesy. Someone mentioned the wrecks on gravel roads. City folks do tend to have a problem figuring out how to drive on gravel roads. It's not that hard; just slow down.

Centrist 10 years, 9 months ago

Ramirez .. do you HAVE to name-call to make a point?

Bubbles 10 years, 9 months ago

Finally, someone that realizes the unique fit of concerts and boat storage.

gr 10 years, 9 months ago

"Thanks for not stating anything relevant to my points!" Is relevance deserved? How about some more?

"I have a friend that lives out in the area and he's witnessed two wrecks in the last couple of years out there at night when there was NO traffic." WOW! Wrecks with NO traffic! Amazing. And besides that, there were TWO in two years!!!

"Many of the roads have no shoulders and ditches that drop off a foot or so." Is that because they are gravel? as in paved roads couldn't have the those same conditions?

"And none of these roads are lit up. It's dark. Believe it or not, this stuff happens." Darkness happens. Especially in the country!

"up to 225 vehicles over a 1 mile stretch of road over a 30 minute timeframe." How's this for relevance: You said, "but there's no way 150 people come out three times a week to enjoy theather,". Maybe you mean they would once a week?

If you don't like the country or gravel roads, do everyone a favor and PLEASE STAY OUT OF IT! Too many people want to go out to the country for peace and quite, then complain about less services, dust (Imagine that! dust on gravel roads!), smells. They drive 70 MPH on the roads. Then, when enough move out, they take over the rural boards, do a shoddy pavement job over the roads, raise taxes, do everything to make it like the city, and bankrupt older farmers who've been there decades. So, PLEASE STAY OUT! You are not welcome there if you can't appreciate and accept what "country" means. You and the city gal who said, "put down some toxic chemicals that blow over and damage my flowers and garden." Your poor flowers - grow them in town. Country means farmers. Or do you buy your food at the store and rather there weren't any farmers?

farmgal 10 years, 9 months ago

gr, save it. "city gal" haha. I've lived on a working farm all my life. our farm has been in our family for 50 years, so just give me a break. Just because I don't like my flowers, yard, trees that I've planted getting killed by the OVERUSE of toxic chemicals doesn't mean I'm a city gal.

Mkh 10 years, 9 months ago

This sounds like a great idea to me. These types of country dinner-theatre operations are extremely popular in the Northeast. I've been to countless dinner-theatres in rural parts of Conn., Mass., and Vermont. I've always found them to be a enjoyable experience, and have actaully seen some wonderful off-Broadway productions out in the middle of the woods.

I think this would be great for Douglas County. They should have one or two plays a month with a couple of performances each, then a couple of low-key concerts with acoustic/bluegrass music and/or classical string quartets.

As someone who lived in rural Douglas County for years I would love to go see a show once in a while without having to go into town, or even worse to KC.

Good Luck!

countrygirl 10 years, 9 months ago

Some people just don't realize that driving on gravel is nothing like driving on pavement. The road can actually move--or rather the surface under your tires moves. Plus it will kick up dirt. So you use that--watch for dirt up ahead of you to let you know about traffic coming. But you can't expect to drive 60 mph on a gravel road and expect your car to behave the same way that it does on asphalt. Some of us enjoy the gravel! It's nice to get off the beaten path sometimes.

KsTwister 10 years, 9 months ago

We wish them well on a nice idea. There probably won't be any difference in the amount of dust in the country. Cars not heading to Dg Co Lake will not make anymore dust than cars that do.

Farmgal: a word of advice ? You cannot educate 'stupid'. Your posts ring true.

RepresentLtown 10 years, 9 months ago

I think all points are relevant. Logrithmic, it's easier to persuade people if you aren't so up in everyone's face about it. Personally, I think the idea will flop. I don't know enough people who will spend that much time out in the country listening to blue grass music. By all means let the couple put the funds together to do it, but I think you are better off just inviting people over for a barbeque.

gkwhdw 10 years, 9 months ago

Everyone!Take a chill pill. There's always gonna be a "complainer" in the crowd who likes to dictate eveyone else's life and ruin the fun for everybody.If those people would like to develop this kind of fun for people who miss spending their relaxing time with a touch of the "olden days" why don't the rest of you MOB! They paid for their property, leave them alone, go bark up another tree and find fault with it.

gkwhdw 10 years, 9 months ago

One more thing, why do you have to be so assertive and expect a lot of questions that are up to the commission to answer, your bad wishes will probably be granted by the commissioners anyway. They generally hold up on pleasureable things anyway.

Jayhawk_N_Denver 10 years, 9 months ago

The Veseckys have a wonderful idea and I hope it works out for them, but there are some downfalls. My parents live down the road so I know the area well (no they aren't part of the 10 neighbors, I asked), I've even been to the Vesecky farm...unless they are planning on building a parking lot on their land, parking will be an issue. The road is too narrow for too many cars parked along the side. If they pave the whole road, no one has to worry about the dust, but as we've seen, they leave it to the homeowners in the area to foot the bill. This gets pricey for the people who moved out here wanting to get away from the "big city" and they don't mind dirt roads. As for accidents, from what I've seen, most dirt road accidents occur because of inattentive driving or alcohol. I seriously doubt the Veseckys will be getting a liquor license, so that rules out the drunk drivers. The inattentive drivers will be everywhere no matter what, so yes there may be some accidents, but most of these people going to the dinner theater aren't going to speed down a dirt road. At most you're looking at a few fender benders.

softtalker 10 years, 9 months ago

Well certain people have been raised knowing Breakfeast, Dinner, Supper.. but thats just me so either way it could be day or night. I'm not saying that dust wont be a problem but the light issue... everyone has lights on their cars, they are ment for being driven at night also. People wont stay inside just because its dark out. Take 458 towards lonestar taking the dirt roads and you'll see atleast 4 speed limit signs, on my 400 yard strip of dirt road theres even speed limit sign. And about the traffic, what about when the movies get out, or the fair, parties, baseball games, basketball games, the LHS FS games? when it gets out at night everyone will be following everyone else until they get to their turn, it would be almost impossible to not see a line of cars coming. I think its a great idea.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 9 months ago

Color me a little confused. First they say that the meals for the dinner theatre would be furnished by a caterer. Then they say they want to give people "some good old down-home cooking". Are meals prepared by caterers considered down-home cooking?

It also says, after the major point of the article, that selling alcohol in an agricultural zone is prohibited. But then it says that alcohol can be served by the caterer, if the caterer has a liquor license.

So, does the caterer they plan to use have a liquor license? If so, then it sounds to me like alcohol could be served wouldn't require the Vesecky's to have a liquor license.

Oh, and as for the 35 mph speed limit on country're probably right. But would you care to hazard a guess as to how many people actually follow the speed limit? They don't do it in the city...what makes you think they'd do it in the country?

maxcrabb 10 years, 9 months ago

How many of you people did I see in Debate class in highschool?

Seriously, every friggin issue becomes a 7 page essay. You people reference more than Wikipedia.

When will the Journal World start writing articles on the posts people leave for articles? I can't wait!

gr 10 years, 9 months ago


That's "clever" of you, now that I see what you are doing. However, to keep people from coming out in the country by saying silly things does not do wonders for your intelligence reading. You keep going on and on about how dangerous the roads are. Why not just come out and say, we don't want a bunch of people out here?

Something tells me you would be in on other nonsense of telling people they can't rebuild their homes destroyed by hurricanes because of some mouse. When in reality, you just don't want people there. Which is fine if that's the way you feel. Just don't try to make up nonsense about it. Next thing you'll be saying is it'll cause global warming. Logarithm on the negative side.

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