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Zoning issues blocks Renaissance festival's move

Fans of Renaissance fairs might be interested to know that the Maryland Renaissance Festival may not be moving to Lothian as hoped to accommodate its increasing attendance. A request was put in to move the event from Crownsville to Lothian where there would be around 100 more acres of space. Zoning approval for the festival was denied by a hearing officer of Anne Arundel County.

The location on which the festival had been taking place in Crownsville only gave participants 130 acres of land. The proposed location on a farm in Lothian offered 238 acres, but homeowners in the area said at a hearing that the event would be a burden on their community. The festival draws around 300,000 people each year. It recreates an English village during the time of King Henry VIII. The organizers still have a lease at the Crownsville location and plan to have the festival there in 2014. The festival is open on weekends from August 23 to October 19.

Organizers had asked for a zoning exception needed for festivals like the Renaissance fair as well as road access and traffic variances. The hearing officer for the county wrote in his decision to deny the zoning request that approving the variances would go against rules for where those types of festivals are allowed in the county. The festival's president said that the decision was not surprising and that he didn't know whether he'd appeal. He has 30 days to do so if he chooses.

Holding large events impacts traffic, creates noise and affects the community at large, which is why both organizers and homeowners have the right to express concerns. People who are having difficulty getting their way about a festival or event might benefit from speaking with a real estate attorney who could assist with filling requests or making one's case at a hearing.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Md. Renaissance Festival denied zoning needed for move to Lothian ", Pamela Wood, June 19, 2014

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