County Commissioners Expect Passionate Arguments At Green Bluff - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

County Commissioners Expect Passionate Arguments At Green Bluff Hearing Today

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KHQ.COM - The County Commissioners are holding the final hearing today at 3pm to discuss whether or not weddings can be held at Green Bluff.

In recent years, more and more couples find the natural beauty of Green Bluff to be the perfect scenery for a wedding.

And, many of the local farms and orchards there are in favor of hosting weddings and events on their land to bring in extra revenue and visitors.

JoAnne Smatlan, owner of High Country Orchard at Green Bluff, said she is always trying to find ways to bring more people to Green Bluff during the off-season.

She is adamantly committed to maintaining the country ambiance Green Bluff offers; however, she said hosting small weddings as long as there are boundaries should be allowed for people actively running a farm too.

"I think there's a big demand in the community," she said. "We don't want a party hardy place, and we tell people that."

Craig Deitz, longtime Green Bluff resident who runs Bodacious Berries, Fruits and Brews said hosting weddings at Green Bluff is necessary to its success and longevity.

"If Green Bluff isn't allowed to be a viable agri-tourism area, then it will be consumed," he said.

People who oppose having weddings at Green Bluff argue that the extra noise and traffic are detrimental to its atmosphere.

However, JoAnne points out that in every day life on Green Bluff, residents experience loud noise from small airplane training and constant tractors running.

She also said her orchard actively controls noise from their events with sound decible readers and by making sure everyone clears out by 9pm at the very latest.

"I hope they look at it realistically," said Smatlan. "We're trying to compromise and we don't want to disturb our neighbors. We'll do everything we can to make it palatable."

Commissioner Al French said today at the hearing, he hopes to find a "happy medium" in terms of managing the commercialization of Green Bluff and maintaining its rural-agricultural roots.

"Green Bluff is a jewel, it's Americana at its best," Commissioner French explained. "And we need to protect and respect the character of its community."

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