Given the County’s natural beauty, it’s no surprise that lots of people would like to get married or host events here.
Recognizing this, many entrepreneurial rural and farm property owners have seen an opportunity to earn some money by hosting events such as weddings, dinners and festivals.
Such commercial events were limited to a restricted number of zones until very recently. Putting it another way, such events were not a permitted use in residential, rural residential or agricultural zones and, based on complaints, could be shut down by by-law enforcement.
After some considerable debate in the local press, Prince Edward County Council passed the following by-law amendment early in 2017 to liberalize the rules regulating special events:
“<Special event> shall mean an outdoor sporting, cultural, business or other type of unique activity, hosting a gathering of persons for a limited duration of a maximum of 3 consecutive days occurring no more frequent than once per season of the calendar year, located on a single lot, but which excludes construction-related activities, farm-related activities, family-related activities, or film production.” By-Law No. 4027-2017
While this amendment gives more latitude to property owners to hold special events, it is not carte blanch: events are limited to one per season (which translates into a maximum of four per year).
If you’re considering buying a County property in rural and residential zones in the hopes of generating income by holding weddings, dinners, etc., you need to make your plans based on this 1 per season maximum or risk having your events shut down by by-law enforcement. Alternatively, a re-zoning application will be needed to secure permission for more frequent or larger events, not a sure thing.
On the other hand, if your buying a property as a residence, the new by-law means that you’ll be protected against a string of commercial events in your neighborhood.