On February 6, the Town of Olive planning board unanimously re-approved the site plan for weddings held at Ashokan Dreams bed-and-breakfast, setting new conditions in response to a lawsuit brought by disgruntled neighbors. The B-and-B will be limited to four weddings a year, between May and October, with a maximum of 75 guests. Amplified music and alcohol service must end at 9 p.m., and guests must depart by 10 p.m.
The decision was the latest development in a lengthy dispute between Ashokan Dreams and the High Point Neighbors Association (HPNA), which alleged weddings at the B-and-B were disruptive, bringing over 100 guests at a time to the rural neighborhood, with an increase of traffic and late-night noise. Other town residents have spoken up at planning board meetings in favor of weddings at the venue, asserting the owners’ right to make a living on their own property.
The HPNA lawsuit against the town led to a court decision last September, ruling that the planning board had improperly granted Ashokan Dreams a special permit. In accordance with town code, State Supreme Court Judge Richard Mott said the planning board may permit only activities that are accessory to and subordinate to — and therefore on a smaller scale — than the primary business of the B-and-B, which offers one to three bedrooms for rent. Last May, the planning board had set limits of nine weddings per year, 170 guests, and music ending by 9:30 p.m., but these measures were deemed insufficient.
David Andrews of HPNA commented, “Now, our main issues are to be sure the town enforces the decision, which is something they have been very lax in doing so far. We still have two lawsuits pending. We still believe strongly that the location is unsuitable, and are hoping that the appeal court will see that the weddings need to curtailed immediately.”
Anne-Marie Johansson, co-owner of Ashokan Dreams, stated, “We have always been and continue to be in full compliance with the Town of Olive permit we have held for 20 years, and have implemented the conditions set forth by the planning board. The events we host provide vital economic activity to many local businesses that we work closely with, and we appreciate the immense support we have received from our fellow full-time and weekend neighbors.”