Traverse City Record-Eagle

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July 11, 2013

Rocking banquet facility roils neighbors

TRAVERSE CITY — Frank Noverr hosted one too many “whopper” parties at his farm, at least in the minds of his neighbors on south Lake Leelanau.

Elmwood Township officials received 22 written complaints from Noverr’s neighbors about the way he uses his property on Lakeview Road for wedding receptions and parties. Neighbors said noise and traffic from guests and delivery trucks at Noverr’s Leelanau Farms and Vineyards are unsuitable and unsafe for their residential neighborhood.

“The traffic is terrible, the noise is worse, and we also have firecrackers going off in blooming constellations,” said neighborhood resident Susan Lamb. “The trucks coming in to cater it are racing up and down our road.”

Julie Gentile lives a half-mile down the road and said she heard noise aplenty during a June 22 event.

“That party was a whopper, Gentile said.

Township officials issued Noverr a cease-and-desist order. Supervisor Jack Kelly said he asked the township’s attorney to obtain a court injunction to keep Noverr from hosting additional events on his 27-acre farm atop a ridge with commanding vistas of southern Lake Leelanau.

Banquet facilities are not allowed in the township’s agricultural or residential zones, Kelly said.

Kelly said he hasn’t spoken to Noverr about his banquet facility and he expects lawyers for both sides to dominate whatever conversations occur.

“We will not stand down,” Kelly said. “This business will be shut down, eventually.”

Noverr owned NPI, which published telephone directories and weekly advertising papers. He sold his publishing businesses in the 1990s after founding NPI Wireless, one of the area’s first cell phone companies which he also sold.

A message left for Noverr was not returned. His daughter, who takes bookings for his banquets, declined comment. Several messages left with Noverr’s attorney, Matthew Vermetten, were not returned.

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