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Gainesville family hopes to start event venue on Chestatee Road
Hall County Government Center

A new event venue could be coming to a former horse farm on Chestatee Road in northwest Hall County.

Brenton and Amy Pierce are hoping to use their 28 acres at 3266 Chestatee Road as an event venue for weddings, reunions and other events with up to 150 people.

Their request is going before the Hall County Planning Commission on Monday and after that will be heard by the Hall County Board of Commissioners.

Hall County Planning Commission

When: 5:15 p.m. Feb. 5

Where: Hall County Government Center second floor, 2875 Browns Bridge Road

More info: 770-531-6809

The Pierces have lived on the property with their two daughters since 2006 and were born and raised in the Gainesville area. Their land has pastures, a small pond, a horse barn and their home set back from Chestatee Road off of Dawsonville Highway near Lake Lanier.

Both parents have full-time jobs, and Amy Pierce said on Wednesday that she sees the agri-entertainment venue as a side project for the family.

“It’s our home, so we would like to keep the weddings small and more intimate,” Pierce said, noting they hoped to host a maximum of 20 weddings each year.

The barn itself is about 3,500 square feet, according to Pierce, and is “rustic but it’s a newer construction.”

Friends of the family had asked through the years to host weddings there, but the Pierces held off on turning the barn into an event space. But now, the family feels ready to create the new business.

And that business was borne out of a desire to prepare their children, now preteens, for the working world — especially Morgan, the oldest of the Pierce girls.

She has a form of muscular dystrophy and relies on a wheelchair, her mother said.

“We thought: What an awesome opportunity to maybe build a small business so they would have something,” Pierce said. “Especially Morgan, my oldest, would have a job while she was going through college. It’s something she could be able to help us manage and take care of, and therefore she would have some income and responsibility as a college student.”

The girls would help their parents manage the work of hosting weddings and events on the property.

Because of Morgan’s disability, the family has had Hall County Fire Services out at the home for a dry run response to a fire or medical emergency, Pierce said, and fire trucks and other vehicles haven’t had trouble navigating the driveway from Chestatee Road to the barn.

“We sit back there, which has always been nice,” Pierce said.

The barn itself has running water and an on-site septic system, according to a report from the Hall County Planning Department.

The department has recommended the request to hold events on the property, currently zoned agricultural-residential-III, with eight conditions focusing on noise limitations, building codes, future construction and other regulations.

However, the property sits under a conservation covenant with the Hall County Tax Assessor’s Office, which carries certain limitations for use. The covenant reduces the assessed value of the land, thereby reducing its tax burden.

Covenants were created in the 1990s to help preserve green space in Georgia.
Steve Watson, chief assessor with the county, said on Wednesday that farm weddings are an allowed use under the covenant, but not other events — even rehearsal dinners — and reunions.

Violating the terms of a covenant can carry heavy penalties. The fine is calculated by taking double the tax savings from the covenant and multiplying it by the years the covenant was already in place. For large properties, penalties have added up to more than $100,000 — sometimes approaching as much as $1 million, Watson said.