Little Compton venue ordered to cancel all weddings

Steph Machado/WPRI-TV

LITTLE COMPTON, R.I. (WPRI) – A Little Compton venue has been ordered to cancel all weddings because of zoning and usage violations, leaving 16 couples to seek last-minute arrangements.

A court spokesman confirmed to Eyewitness News that Superior Court Judge Brian Van Couyghen issued the order last week, telling the owners of the Stone House on Sakonnet Point Road that they can’t hold any special events.

Kevin Vendituoli, the attorney for Stone House owners Newport Experience, told Eyewitness News the judge agreed with the town of Little Compton’s zoning complaint regarding the venue’s gravel parking lot, which holds more than 90 cars. With the parking lot out of use, the venue isn’t able to hold any events.

Gravel parking lot at Stone House Inn (Steph Machado/WPRI-TV)

“It’s really a shame if we have to shutter it because the parking lot that’s been used for over 30 years is now non-compliant with zoning,” he said.

Vendituoli said the venue is working to handle the zoning situation but is currently focused on getting brides and grooms rebooked at new venues. The wedding that was supposed to take place at Stone House on Saturday was held at Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard, another Little Compton venue.

“We really don’t want to see brides and grooms’ weddings canceled,” the vineyard’s manager, Cynthia Rocha, said in a statement. “We have been trying where possible to help those people out on what is one of their most special days.”

Rocha said the venue is allowed by the town to hold 14 weddings per season.

“We’re doing everything we can to take care of these brides,” Vendituoli said. “That’s our center focus. At some point, that’s going to break through to the town and the judiciary that this isn’t the proper resolution.”

Eyewitness News was not immediately able to reach the town’s zoning officer Wednesday evening.

Stone House Inn’s wedding tent (Steph Machado/WPRI-TV)

Vendituoli said there have been dozens of complaints from neighbors about noise from the outdoor weddings, but he said the venue has been in compliance with required decibel levels.

A neighbor who lives feet from the wedding tent said Wednesday there were noise issues with the venue’s previous owners, but not the current owners.

“I’ve had no issue with them,” Elizabeth Kaufmann said. “I think they’ve been extremely respectful.”

Vendituoli said the venue’s next wedding was supposed to be Thursday night, and they are currently seeking a replacement location.