Red House no longer accepting reservations

Stay’s over

OBSERVER Photo by Damian Sebouhian The Red House in Cassadaga, has long been used as a venue for many years to host weddings and other events. The owners recently lost their appeal for a variance on the property and consequently will not be taking reservations for the time being.

CASSADAGA — Steve and Nancy Wickmark, owners of the popular wedding venue known as the Red House, came to last week’s village board meeting to share that they will no longer be taking reservations, at least for the time being.

“Pursuant (to the ruling) the other day by the ZBA (Zoning Board of Appeals), we have temporarily suspended our business operation,” Mr. Wickmark announced. “We’re no longer taking reservations.”

Although the historical family manor and block barn has been used for years as a venue for events, business retreats and as a get-away for tourists, because it’s located in a residential zoning district, the Red House can no longer operate as a business.

Some have speculated that one or more neighbors had complained about loud music being played after hours and such complaints drove the ZBA to deny the Red House a variance.

Part of the challenge for the Wickmarks is what to do with the over two-dozen reservations that have already been long-booked.

“We have 27 weddings that are scheduled for the summer,” Mr. Wickmark said. “These people have been on the books for two years. Many of them are friends of ours. We’re not going to say no to them at this point.”

Instead of renting out the property as a business transaction, it appears as if the Wickmarks will make it available for those with reservations this summer as if they are guests of the family.

Such a change will also have an effect on any payment transactions. “We’re going to let (those with reservations) know that they are encouraged to make donations to local charities,” Mr. Wickmark explained. “If they would prefer, we could put whatever they’d like to contribute to the Red House restoration fund into a trust account that we will hold for them until we decide what will finally happen to the business.”

According to the Red House website, “Our family-owned and operated business is designed as a not-for-profit making endeavor. All proceeds support the upkeep of the buildings and grounds. Any profit derived from the Red house events go toward youth development efforts in the Cassadaga Valley region.”

While the Wickmarks make the necessary changes to meet the ZBA ruling, Mr. Wickmark said that other changes regarding noise have already been made.

“We have also advised all of our clients at this point that music will be turned off at 10 p.m. going forward,” he said. “It’s been 11 up to this point, but we’re advising it for 10 and we’re also setting decibel levels to 90 decibels at the source, which we think should appease anybody that’s been offended by what’s going on.”

Mr. Wickmark further explained that they will make sure that during events, there will be somebody manning the parking lot “in case there is anything going on…I’ll make sure that it doesn’t go on.”

In other words, it appears as if there will continue to be events happening at the Red House, but, according to Mr. Wickmark, “It’s not open to the general public. Everything now is by invitation. We’re hosting a wedding in our backyard is the way we’re going to do it.”