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Wedding venue fighting to stay open

Posted at 11:35 PM, Feb 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-05 02:35:22-05

A Tehachapi wedding venue is fighting to keep their business from being shut down.

"We hold weddings, different types of events, fundraisers," said Jennifer Williams, owner of Jennifer's Terrace.

The business has been on the rise in Tehachapi for eight years.

"When I first saw it, I thought, no way. It was all broken up and my wife said, 'We can make it work. We can make it work,' and she made it work," said Guy Williams, Jennifer's husband.

The Williams said they bought a property that had been vacant for many years and transformed it into a successful outdoor wedding venue.

The venue sits in a residential area on Curry Street, but the Williams said they have never had an issue with noise complaints from neighbors - up until two years ago.

"From the city manager calling us at home saying, 'Hey, the music is too loud, there's police over there you need to get that music turned off,'" said Williams.

Most recently, Jennifer's Terrace was required to get a conditional use permit, which doesn't allow them to amplify music.

"One of the conditions was music could not escape the premises of the property. This is an outdoor event. Sound waves travel," said Guy Williams.

"That would put us out of business. Who would have a wedding without having music?" said Jennifer Williams.

The Williams claim city council member and neighbor of Jennifer's Terrace, Phil Smith, is behind the city's sudden crackdown.

"I think he likes the neighborhood the way it used to be. He likes the quiet neighborhood, he can't enjoy his backyard in the summer evenings."

23ABC reached out to Smith, but he said he was advised not to speak on the matter because the city doesn't want it to appear like he's influencing the planning commission.

But his wife, Becky Smith, spoke to us off camera and said they like what the venue is doing for the community, but they don't agree with how loud the music gets.

Meanwhile, the Williams said they'll do what they can to keep their business open.

"We want to have an objective way to measure the sound. The only way to measure sound is through decibels," said Williams.

The planning commission meeting is scheduled for next Monday, February 8th at 6 p.m. at the Wells Education Center.

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