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Permit to turn former Kelley property into wedding venue to be decided by Mitchell City Council

While the council approved the buyer’s $1.59 million offer on the property this summer, the buyer stipulated the sale is contingent on the conditional use permit for the property to operate a wedding style venue.

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Shown here is the front entrance of the former Kelley house that a buyer is seeking to transform into a wedding venue.
Sam Fosness / Republic
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The Mitchell City Council will consider granting a conditional use permit on Monday that would allow a million-dollar property just west of Lake Mitchell to transform into a wedding venue.

After sitting on the market for two years, the former Kelley house attracted a buyer in July. While the council approved the buyer’s $1.59 million offer on the property this summer, the buyer stipulated the sale is contingent on the conditional use permit for the property to operate a wedding style venue.

On Monday, the eight-person council will sit as the Board of Adjustment to decide whether to approve the conditional use permit and the future sale of the property. The buyer has chosen to remain anonymous until the sale is completely finalized.

The buyer’s plans to operate a wedding venue at the property that overlooks Firesteel Creek and rolling hills has come up against opposition among some nearby residents. Among the nearby residents' concerns they voiced at the recent Planning and Zoning Commission meeting were increased traffic, public safety, potential alcohol use during events and noise.

Don Petersen, the attorney representing the buyer, pushed back on the concerns and pointed out there are wedding venues like the proposed Kelley property "all over the state of South Dakota."

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Shown here is the front entrance of the former Kelley house.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

After hearing concerns over the plan to open a wedding and event venue, the Planning and Zoning Commission narrowly approved recommending the conditional use permit on Sept. 12 in a 4-3 vote.

Selling the property has been a shared focus among city leaders, considering acquiring the home was not the intention of the 371-acre land purchase in 2019. Rather, the land buy was solely for the upcoming wetland project that aims to reduce the nutrient loads and runoff flowing into the lake via Firesteel Creek.

The wedding venue plan won’t come as a surprise to the council. In July, the buyer’s realtor, Brian Eliason, informed the council that one of the buyer’s stipulations of the sale was securing a conditional use permit that’s now coming in front of the council.

For the conditional use permit to be granted, there must be 6 votes of approval due to it being an item decided by the Board of Adjustment.

If the sale of the property is ultimately finalized, pending the conditional use permit decision, it comes with a 10,095-square-foot house, a large multi-use building and over a dozen acres surrounding the home and building.

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Traffic concerns, noise and increased dust from vehicles were several concerns that nearby property owners had over the buyer behind the $1.59 million approved offer of the former Kelley home.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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