County grants specialty resort/wedding venue CUP to Frawley Ranches, Inc.

January 3, 2019

DEADWOOD — Thursday, the Lawrence County Commission approved a conditional use permit (CUP) for a specialty resort/wedding venue to Frawley Ranches, Inc. for use in the outdoor courtyard area and down toward the creek that runs through the property with a tent set-up.

The CUP application process follows a shut-down by the Lawrence County Planning and Zoning Office of all indoor events at the Elkhorn Ridge Courtyard Cabins effective Sept. 7, 2018, due to code violations and public safety concerns.

At that time, Lawrence County Planning and Zoning Director Amber Vogt said officials moved to ban interior events at the venue, following a call to the state fire marshal from someone who had attended a wedding at the venue over the summer and voiced code concerns.

The State Fire Marshall’s office then contacted Lawrence County Planning & Zoning officials to see if any inspections had been conducted on the property. The Planning & Zoning office was unaware the events were being held to the extent they were. Consequently, no inspections had been conducted by the Planning & Zoning office.

An onsite visit to the Courtyard Barns Sept. 7 by Lawrence County Building Official Jeff Schroeder, Vogt, City of Spearfish Building Official Tom Paisley, and South Dakota Department of Public Safety, Deputy State Fire Marshal Damon Hartmann brought to light a number of safety concerns, including, but not limited to: entryway into and out of the building, handicap accessibility, water and sewer concerns, structural integrity of the building, public safety concerns during events, zoning violations, and building code violations.

The Lawrence County Commission Sept. 18 moved to allow Vogt to issue a temporary use permit for the three remaining events at the venue for 2018, with Vogt to establish appropriate operating conditions.

For all events thereafter, JR Hamblet, director of operations, Elkhorn Ridge, was directed to apply for a CUP.

Considering the historical nature of the buildings the decision was made by ownership to forego any attempts to bring the buildings into code compliance such that events may be hosted inside in the future.

The CUP will be used on the property that houses the Frawley Ranch Barns, at Pendo Road and Highway 85.

“They are very aware that they cannot use the barns for any events because they are not deemed safe to be in,” Vogt said.

No input was voiced at a public hearing held immediately prior to commission discussion and the public hearing was closed.

Commissioner Richard Sleep asked if there is a no smoking policy at the venue.

“There is no smoking … we pretty much deemed the entire Frawley Ranch a non-smoking campus,” Hamblet said.

“I was concerned about smoking there in the courtyard because if something gets started, you’ve got wooden structures all the way around,” Sleep said. “Things like that burn pretty easily and pretty fast when they get started.”

“I think that there are certain gates you need to leave open for fire egress, is that correct, in the courtyard, if folks need to get out?” asked Deputy State’s Attorney Bruce Outka.

“Yes … the south courtyard is open to the house, there and correct, the north courtyard opens to the south as well as to the east,” Hamblet said, later adding that no smoking signs are also posted in the area.

“There’s two ways out,” said Commissioner Daryl Johnson.

Commissioner Randy Deibert pointed out that there was a condition added by the planning and zoning commission which states that the rental facility shall provide proof of insurance of not less than $1 million, prior to the CUP taking effect and asked if there were any issues with that.

There were no issues.

Deibert also asked for clarification on the hours of operation at the site.

Hamblet said that last call is 11 p.m., so the area would be cleared out by midnight.

After discussion, it was decided that the hours of operation will be 9 a.m. to midnight.

“I just don’t want them there at 6 in the morning or 2 in the morning,” said Commissioner Brandon Flanagan. “Just make sure that everyone understands that at midnight, it’s over. Not hang out and talk for two hours afterwards.”

Flanagan also questioned language used in the conditions and asked that they be firmed up as statements, not suggestions, with concrete parameters.

He also asked that a condition regarding trash be tightened up, so as to eliminate free blowing trash.

Other conditions of the CUP include the allowance of six employees reporting to the venue, whom shall be the only people allowed inside the structures on the property. No guests shall be allowed inside the structures at any time; any new construction will require a building permit from Lawrence County and shall comply with current building codes; all septic systems shall be designed, inspected, and approved by a South Dakota certified professional engineer and the existing trailered restrooms shall be kept pumped and in a clean working manner; the permit shall be reviewed on an annual basis or an as-needed basis should complaints arise.

This CUP does not include the Draper House. A separate CUP would be required for Frawley Ranches to hold events at this venue.

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