Stone House Inn denied new entertainment license

Steph Machado/WPRI-TV

LITTLE COMPTON, R.I. (WPRI) — A popular wedding venue’s request for a new entertainment license was denied Thursday night by the Little Compton Town Council.

The Stone House Inn applied for the new license after a judge last month ordered the venue to cancel all of its upcoming weddings and other special events over a zoning dispute with the town.

In his ruling, Superior Court Judge Brian Van Couyghen agreed with the town’s complaint that the Sakonnet Point Road facility’s gravel parking lot was not in accordance with applicable parking and traffic requirements.

In denying the Stone House Inn’s request on Thursday, the Town Council said the venue failed to secure zoning relief. The Stone House had asked the council to waive the zoning requirement.

“They didn’t start raising that issue until all of the brides for this year that we’re dealing with now were already under contract,” said Kevin Vendituoli, the attorney for the inn’s owners, Newport Experience.

The court order states the venue knew about the license and zoning dispute as early as the fall of 2016 but failed to notify the couples with weddings booked.

The Stone House Inn says it recently filed a zoning application for the parking lot, but the zoning board president Frederick Buhrendorf said it would not be considered until the next meeting on September 20.

That’s too late for Christy Durant.

“This is certainly not how I anticipated spending the month before my wedding,” Durant said, choking back tears.

Durant and her fiancé Derek DeSalvo had the Stone House Inn booked for their big day on Sept. 16, but those plans came to a screeching halt Thursday night.

“I definitely did not anticipate having to literally fight to get married,” Durant added. “Hopefully something, someone, some way this is all going to come together.”

Durant and DeSalvo said their vendors require a 30-day cancellation notice before refunds are withheld, meaning the couple now has a week to find a new venue.

Vendituoli said last month he’s appealing the Superior Court judge’s decision to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.