A bride's dream, or a neighbor's nightmare? Mesa wedding venue to open

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck
MESA, Ariz. -- Despite vocal complaints from hundreds of people who live near a proposed wedding and reception venue in East Mesa, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Wednesday voted unanimously to grant the business a special use permit.
John Burns says he poured tens of thousands of dollars into renovating a nearly 7,000 square foot house near the intersection of Signal Butte and Brown roads, so he and his wife could run Superstition Manor, the wedding venue in question.
“Businesses want to move into this area. It is not going to stay all residential anymore,” Burns said. “This is going to help the East Valley.”
At the Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday, neighbors voiced concerns about light pollution, noise, drunk drivers, added traffic, and changing the desert, rural landscape of the area.
“This is clearly a commercial activity within a residential, rural area,” said Sandra Carpenter, who lives nearby.
“If he’s advertising alcohol, then it’s going to be a bar and a party house,” said neighbor Robert Moody.
“My wife and I looked where we wanted to buy. We liked the peacefulness of this area, we liked the quietness of this area, we liked the views of the Superstition Mountains,” said Donald Dahler, who lives within a few thousand feet of Superstition Manor.
Area land-uses specifications state that commercial development in the area should be discouraged to retain the rural characteristics of the neighborhood.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Burns argued that Superstition Manor will not disrupt the lifestyle of the area.  
“This isn’t like a big box store coming in,” Burns said. “There has to be a time when some expansion happens.”
Some people who live nearby spoke out in support of Superstition Manor at the meeting.
“We think it’s a great facility. I think the people that run it are great. I don’t think it’s going to hurt our property values,” said Doug Henderson, who stated that he owns the house closest to the wedding venue.
The board eventually agreed to grant the special-use permit for Superstition Manor, though they placed a number of restrictions on Burns’ business to help mitigate concerns of noise, excess light, traffic and drunk drivers. 
Superstition Manor will also be subject to a yearly review by the county.
“I think the Board made a great decision,” said Burns. “They’ve put a lot of restrictions on me. I’m more restricted than any other wedding venue in the Valley, and I’m ok with that.”

Burns says he hopes to have his venue open for business in May.