The fate of many weddings booked at Shade Trees and Evergreens is still unknown. As someone who recently had a wedding in Frederick County, I cannot overstate how unacceptable it is to treat local families this way. Most large wedding venues in Frederick County are booked at least a year out, with couples investing tens of thousands of dollars to bring their loved ones together to celebrate.

Almost all of that money goes to local small businesses such as caterers, bakers, florists, etc. Every weekend, each of these venues bring hundreds of out of town visitors to Frederick County.

We’re spending millions to put a conference center downtown, hoping to attract visitors, while shutting down a venue that’s been bringing hundreds of visitors here every weekend for 10 years without ever asking for a dime.

Is it any wonder that people question the motives of our county executive branch, which supports both of these actions at the same time? How does County Executive Jan Gardner justify supporting one business while shutting down the other? Could it be that one company is more politically connected than the other?

Darren Wigfield


(24) comments


The fault lies entirely with the venue. Jan Gardner had nothing to do with shutting them down. They brought this on themselves by not following the rules. Why should they be allowed to slide when other businesses followed the rules and regulations??? How dare you think they should be allowed to operate.


Selling the customer something and not providing what it wS you sold them is called: FRAUD.

So, pretty sure ST&E did not tell their couples that they must tinkle and get dressed in portable bathrooms........


Darren: parroting what has been said by Delauter and Shreve is not thinking for yourself. Running a business is tough, any small business owner (SBO) will tell you that. But there are plenty of examples of SBOs in Frederick County who have played by the rules and are successful. Being ignorant about permitting is simply not an excuse - many SBOs will tell you that, and I'm sure many will be upset that the owner of Shade Trees got away with things for so long.

It matters not that this business operated for ten years without a problem. That's called complacency, and bad things can occur when complacency is allowed to take root (see the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster as a prime example).


Was going to make the same response but you summarized it well.


Hard to see where the county is to blame for this. Anyone who runs a business in Maryland should have some inkling of the permitting process. Although it would be nice if things did not amble on for 10 years before anyone thought to check it out.

Also not mentioned: Who built all that stuff, and if they were licensed, how come they did not know about the permits? Is this the Kirby Delauter connection?


It looks to me like the County Executive wants everyone to play by the rules. Why should she put the population at risk and penalize the 99% of businesses that have spent the time and money to follow the rules, by allowing cheaters to get around the system?

Keep up the great work County Executive Gardner.


Just another misguided libertarian -


It is not the CE's fault that the venue never applied for the proper permits or inspections. The company deserves 100% of the blame on this one.


Exactly right. Yet Delauter and Shreve are going around lying about that to anyone who will listen.


Show me a single case where a fire inspector signed off on a zoning review. The pergola installation looks to have been done without permit. Big deal, you get the information on the framing and you send it in for review. Then you pay your permit fee and fine for building it hour a permit and life moves on, It's an open canopy on 3 sides. I have never seen a fire Marshall inspection on a pergola like this ever. Someone said there was a complaint and that's what triggered the inspection? Ok, could a transparent government perhaps show the actual comment and complaint while protecting the name of the person complaining? Or is the owner of this business someone who has dealt with Janin the past and went over her head on an issue she didn't like? Time will tell.


Bet you wouldn't feel that way if your neighbor built a giant shed next to your house without the proper setbacks etc. Once again, seeing conspiracy theories where they serve your purpose.


jgrose79, your argument is fiction. And by the way, why hasn't Shade Tree applied for any of the temporary permits to still have weddings offered by the County?


It's not just permits, it's zoning too.

No fire marshal inspection for a pergola, no one said that.

But pergolas over a certain size do in fact, and always have, required a building permit and inspection. Many white collar office workers commenting about building codes, now just go lay down.


The businesses that were shut down failed to apply for permits....for anything. They were out of compliance, for everything. This letter writer knows that but keeps it a secret, so if the letter writer is lying about this, they are probably lying about everything. Worthless LTE.


Sorry about the inconvenience, it was something previously overlooked in the "big picture." No nefarious motives. I have spoken.


I agree the problem resides with the operators of the business not getting proper licenses. However it is interesting how many people stand up to scream illegal about some things, but do not understand the concept when discussing others. Food for thought.


For instance???


The venue is the place to blame, not the county. If they opened up shop legally, they wouldn't have this issue.


Darren, you are totally off base. What part of illegal do you not understand??


There are events in Darren's past that should preclude him from ever speaking publicly about anything...


yeah there are..LOL.


Darren-- you are so obviously a shill for Delauter. You should be ashamed for trying to blame Jan for a business not operating legally.


"I cannot overstate how unacceptable it is to treat local families this way."

Please say that to the owners of the wedding venues.


This issue is not about the County Executive. It is about a local business that never applied for the necessary permits to conduct their business. This involves sanitation and customer safety. It would be malfeasance if the county government did not enforce the appropriate regulations. This issue is totally the fault of the owners of Shade Trees and Evergreens. Bob Lewis

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