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Mudd Yard request struck down

BY Spencer Durham - sdurham@chronicle-tribune.com

A second request to host concerts and mudding events at a near Marion property was struck down Monday by the Grant County Board of Zoning Appeals.

Junior Stone, owner of the Mudd Yard, 4425 S. Meridian St., had requested an exception to host eight events at the 26-acre property that lies just outside Marion city limits, similar to the one he made in 2017. Events included five concerts and three mudding events.

Stone contended in 2017 and again Monday evening that he had done everything that had been asked of him. This included installing a wash station on the property to cut down on mud tracked onto public streets. Stone told the Chronicle-Tribune in December he planned to move the wash station to the back of the property, put in gravel at the entrance and have mudding vehicles hauled in to further cut down on mud. The Jonesboro man also bought a street sweeper.

Stone said he would have security for the events and would cooperate with the Grant County Sheriff’s Department.

Randall Head, attorney for Tribbett Law Office in Logansport, represented Stone. Head addressed the BZA and said Stone also constructed a bandshell for concerts, would have an inspector at the truck wash and purchased a decibel meter to monitor noise.

The Grant County Commissioners set limits on noise level and placed time restrictions for music at the site in an ordinance passed in 2017 following widespread complaints from nearby residents after Redneck Rave events on the property.

“Junior learned from his mistakes, he’s taken suggestions from the public, suggestions from the people who weren’t happy, suggestions from members of the board when he appeared last time and tried to implement those,” Head said.

Three people spoke in favor of Stone’s request, arguing events like his gives the county family-friendly fun that is also safe.

About seven people spoke in opposition of the events. Main concerns included the property not being big enough, street congestion, diminished property values, noise and vulgar language.

Deb Cain, Marion City Council member spoke out against the Mudd Yard and said events had a negative impact because Meridian Street in the area is a dark, narrow street and increased traffic poses a risk to children who attend Idyl Wyld skating parties.

“I am not against having the Mudd Yard, but I am in the location,” said Cain who is also president of the neighborhood association that butts up against the property. “This is a residence area. That’s why people move to residence area (sic) because they want a small community.”

Many in opposition held a similar opinion as Cain – against the location, not the events.

Dorothy Trueman, owner of Idyl Wyld Roller Palace, said her main concern was children who walk home from the skating rink at night.

“That street is dark, there are no street lights, there are no sidewalks …,” she said. “I’m so afraid some of these drivers could be intoxicated, I don’t know, but if somebody would hit one of these children … it would be horrible.”

Board member Robert Monroe made a motion to deny the request after hearing from supporters, the opposition and after Head and Stone were given time to respond to concerns.

Stone’s request was denied. The board unanimously voted against it.

Board members did not discuss their reason for voting and entered an executive session immediately following the regular meeting.

“I know Junior was very serious and sincere in the improvements he made,” Head said of his client following the vote. “He’s invested a lot of resources and time … in the property.

Stone told the C-T he had invested $40,000 in the the Mudd Yard.

The property owner said he’s not giving up and plans to discuss with his attorney about possible options.

“I’m not going to give up,” he said. “... I’ve tried to do the right thing.”

Stone is allowed to request a special exception every 12 months and could approach the BZA next year if he chooses to do so.