SPENCERVILLE – Voters in Amanda Township on Nov. 3 will determine the fate of a proposed township zoning amendment that, if approved, would pave the way for a new family-owned wedding and events venue.
The referendum was placed on the ballot by Vandemark Estate and Events Venue, located at 9095 Spencerville Road (state Route 117), some three miles east of the village of Spencerville.
Voter approval would see 1.6 acres rezoned from an agricultural district to a B-1 local business district to accommodate the venue.
The fledgling business, owned and operated by Joshua and Mae Vandemark, is billed online as a “romantic and elegant, rustic and natural” setting that would be the “newest indoor and outdoor special events venue in Northwestern Ohio.”
All that stands in the way is approval from the voting public.
Josh Vandemark is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps. He is a Spencerville native who is excited about the prospect of giving back to his community.
“We hope to establish an upscale wedding venue that will be run professionally and will serve as a home-based business for our family,” Vandemark said. “We want to use all local vendors and to contribute to the Spencerville economy.”
Vandemark said he has received “a lot of positive feedback” from community members surrounding the proposed venue, although he did admit that three other vocal residents have said “they don’t want it at all.”
In a letter Sunday to the Your Views feature in The Lima News, Joseph A. & Mary Bonifas of Spencerville voiced some of their concerns. They said the noise would be bothersome to the 60-plus houses within 1½ miles of the event center. Safety was also a major concern.
They wrote, “The highway between South Conant Road and the Auglaize River has been the site of many automobile accidents, unfortunately some fatal. They indicate parties will be over by 11 p.m., at which time up to 300 people will be exiting onto Stare Route 117 from one driveway in the middle of this dangerous stretch of Spencerville Road.”
They pointed out The Amanda Township zoning board turned down the idea in January by an unanimous vote.
According to a website dedicated to the venue at www.thevandemarkestate.com, it is the Vandemarks’ goal to accommodate small, intimate weddings as well as events of up to 200 guests. The new business intends to partner with vendors that include designers, florists, caterers, musicians, photographers, videographers and wedding officiants.
Mae Vandemark is employed in the health care field as an MRI technician at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne. She enjoys interior design and photography and sees the venue as an extension of those hobbies.