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Va. county restricts private business from hosting weddings

Call off the wedding. Spotsylvania County in Virginia has imposed “special use permit” restrictions on a couple that’s been hosting marriages for years — effectively nullifying future nuptials at a once-thriving business.

Gary Gratopp, co-owner of Eden Try, said the county crackdown “defies logic.”

Yet the move resembles actions in nearby Fauquier County, where officials are employing permitting requirements to harass and intimidate private-property owners.

Spotsylvania supervisors unanimously approved a proposal that says county staff can issue no more than six “temporary event permits” per year at any one location, according to news reports last week.

The new rule is abusive, says Mark Fitzgibbons, an attorney active in land-use issues.

“What’s the difference between six and eight or 10 events under this notion or protecting the health, safety and welfare of the community?” he asks.

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