The construct of time seems to be one of the few obstacles for The Farm, a wedding and concert venue in Selma. But owner Trent Lassiter has found a solution to that.
Lassiter is opening a second location of The Farm on N.C. 42 East near Flowers Plantation, one focusing more on nuptials and corporate retreats than concerts.
“The issue is that God only gave us 52 Saturdays a year for weddings,” Lassiter said last Monday night at the county commissioners’ meeting. “We have the majority of those booked up in the future, 12 to 18 months plus.”
Lassiter plans to call his new events center The Farm also and use it to tap into the quickly growing western Johnston County and Flowers Plantation area. On the 16.7-acre tract, he’ll build a 14,500-square-foot building with two banquet halls and space for up to 500 people. The venue won’t have an outdoor stage, though Lassiter said he couldn’t promise that small bands wouldn’t play as outside as part of weddings.
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“The biggest difference between this and our current venue, this will have no outdoor stage, no concerts, no Trump rallies,” Lassiter said, referencing a Donald Trump campaign stop last fall that drew thousands of people to The Farm, snarling traffic. “This will be weddings, corporate events, mostly taking place on the weekends, not affecting any work week traffic with the exception of a corporate event that may take place during the week.”
The Johnston County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the venture, showing little pause to the application that tied up the county’s planning board for an hour and a half and drew passionate objection from neighbors, including Reed Stephenson, the chief executive of Flowers Plantation.
But that was before Lassiter’s name was publicly attached to the project, when the intentions for the land were known but the buyer was not. At that February meeting, neighbors said their community could use a greater variety of housing, not an events venue.
Monday night’s meeting drew no public objection.
“Well this is not what I was expecting,” board chairman Jeff Carver said of the quickly dissipated controversy from the venue.
Lisa Bland, a resident of Flowers Plantation and the only person not attached to the project to speak, said she was fully supportive and only wish the venue already existed.
“There is nothing in our immediate area like this,” Bland said. “I’m speaking as a mother who just celebrated my daughter’s first Communion. We had no place to go, so we did go to a local restaurant. If we had this space available, with it being closer, we would have utilized them.”
The board of commissioners did quibble with Lassiter over the operating hours of the new venue, eventually settling on a hard 1 a.m. limit. Lassiter said he would be using the same contracts in Clayton that he does in Selma, where weddings wrap up before the county’s 11 p.m. noise ordinance comes into play.
Lassiter pushed for a little grace time, though, in the event a New Year’s Eve party is held at the new venue. That lead to the 1 a.m. max.