Cape Elizabeth councilors enact regulations for event venues

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The Town Council has approved a special events ordinance that will regulate rental of residential property for private events and parties.

Councilors unanimously approved the ordinance on Wednesday with little discussion. They also approved a zoning map amendment that allows Sprague Corp. to continue to rent property for events.

A public hearing was held before councilors voted, but no one was present to speak to the issue.

The use of residential property as a business for fee-paying functions was not previously allowed in town. The question came up after town officials became aware that Sprague Corp. has been renting Wentworth Lodge on Winters Lane at Ram Island Farm for weddings several times a year.

The Planning Board sent the ordinance to councilors in June, who then sent it to the ordinance committee. 

Under the ordinance, if a person or business wants to hold events on their property, they have to apply for a zoning map amendment to be included in the special events facility overlay district.

The special events facility ordinance allows property owners in the A, B and C residential zoning districts to have “small-scale, hospitality venues” on their property, if the property is a minimum of 15 acres. 

Other restrictions created by the Planning Board and ordinance committee include a maximum of 12 events a year; no amplified music after 10 p.m.; no more than 275 people in attendance, including staff, and site plans must be renewed every three years.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

From left, Cape Elizabeth Town Councilors Jim Walsh, Jessica Sullivan, and Caitlin Jordan, Town Clerk Debra Lane, Chairwoman Kathy Ray, Town Manager Mike McGovern, and Councilors Jamie Wagner, Molly MacAuslan, and Patty Grennon.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.