Flower farm gets zoning approval

A flower farm that would also host workshops on backyard agriculture and carpentry got the endorsement of the Piatt County zoning board of appeals at its meeting on March 22. If a conditional use permit is approved by the county board on April 11, work will start soon on Backyard Beauty, a business that will be operated by Megan Murphy and her husband Steve Collins about three miles east of White Heath.

“We’re both a flower farm and forestry and creative carpentry,” said Murphy.

No new buildings are planned, but existing structures will be remodeled and repurposed.

“So there’s an old machine shed that was built in 1940 and that’s being slated, and a new floor being put into it and it will be a workshop,” added Murphy.

“I’d love to have a variety of different workshops, learning opportunities, like backyard farming, do it yourself, build your own beehive, learn to grow your own herbs. Our name is Backyard Beauty, so we want to show how you can create beauty in your own backyard,” she added.

ZBA members voted 4-0 to give its thumbs up on the special use permit needed to allow the home-based business to operate on agriculturally zoned land. The only concern expressed by zoning board members was making sure there was enough parking onsite so that unmanned vehicles did not end up parked on the rural roads.

“I know we’ve had some concerns in the past about parking, so if you get any events going try to keep cars on the property,” said ZBA member Bruce Stoddard.

Collins is a carpenter, so he may provide some training sessions on that subject at Backyard Beauty.

Murphy said she was not sure when the flower farm will be open to the public, but that work should begin in April.

“I’ll be planting perennials next month,” she said.

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