Fiber Arts Studio Approved in Walkersville

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WalkersvilleMarketThe Town of Walkersville’s Board of Appeals met Tuesday night to hear a request by Mary Singleton for a Special Exception use in the town’s Old Town Mixed Use zoning district. Ms. Singleton plans to open her business, Singleton Fiber Arts Studio and Processing, at the former Walkersville Market at 25 Maple Avenue.

Last year, the property owners renovated the building and received a special exception approval for a wholesale wine and distributor to use the building.  That use does not occupy all of the space in the building. Later last year, the property owners asked for permission to host more than one use on the property.  The Walkersville Planning Commission, Burgess, and Town Commissioners approved amendments that changed requirements for the entire zoning district.  As of January 28, 2015, the property may host multiple uses.

The zoning district was also amended to allow “art or craft studios” by special exception.

Singleton Fiber Arts Studio and Processing works with “area farmers to process the fleeces of their animals (sheep, alpaca and angora goats) into custom usable craft items, such as yarn, batts, roving for hand spinning and felting, and small area rugs.” The company uses laundry detergents to handwash fleeces.  Once cleaned, they process the fiber with small, cottage-industry equipment. Dyes used contain no metal and are environmentally friendly.

The business currently operates from a garage on East Church Street in Frederick. Due to the growth of their business, Dwayne and Mary Singleton decided to find a location to accomodate their artistic focus, teaching, and processing more fiber. Residents of Walkersville for the past thirty years, moving their business to Walkersville makes sense.

The Singleton’s actively participate in various organizations including the Maryland Sheep Breeders Association and the Frederick County Sheep Breeders Association. The State of Maryland has over 1,200 farms that produce usable animal fiber.

Their operations use household current, do not create noise levels that can be heard outside of the building, and do not create odors, fumes, smoke, dust or vibrations. They estimate water consumption of two-hundred gallons per day. They will use a grease and oil trap to filter waste water.

The fiber will be processed in a room measuring 1,100 square feet. Another smaller room measuring 300 square feet, will offer a studio and retail space.

Singleton Fiber Arts Studio and Processing usually receives no more than three customers per day. Customers drop off and pick up orders in cars, minivans or pick-up trucks. They also offer tours of their facility for group of up to 12 persons, and classes for fiber farmers and artists in hand spinning, weaving and dyeing. Classes will be limited to six students once per day. The business will operate between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday.

Upon reviewing the information presented and the legal requirements, the Walkersville Board of Appeals approved the application for a Special Exception Use.

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