by Beth Nyman
Thursday night the Dayton, Kentucky Board of Adjustments met to review Scott Beseler’s application to open The Lodge to the public for art shows, small concerts, and lectures. It has been zoned as residential until now , and the change from private use to public warranted the request for a zoning variance.
The Lodge, at 231 6th Street, was originally a Masonic temple. The Mason’s decided to sell it in 2006 when maintenance issues became more costly than they could afford. It then sat empty until Scott purchased the building in 2011. Scott used money he inherited from his late father to finance his dream of owning a musician’s retreat, workshop, and recording studio. His vision was to have a world class recording studio within reach of financially strapped musicians, and a retreat for artists of all kinds. When he found the lodge in Dayton, he knew it was the perfect building.
The Board asked many questions concerning the electric, number of doors, condition of roof, noise, and parking. Scott and Ryan Hutchinson from Campbell County planning and zoning answered all questions to the satisfaction of the board. Photos of beautiful and spacious studios were shown on the wall screen. Scott and his associates have made many improvements to the spaces; they’ve replaced the roof, installed a sound proof recording studio, replaced the boiler and made many other repairs and improvements.
Many people, both Dayton residents and non-resident’s, showed up to the hearing to lend support. Local musician Stuart MacKenzie told the board that he wouldn’t have been able to record his album if not for the Lodge’s excellent facilities and reasonable cost. Other Dayton residents stood and spoke of their excitement about the presence of the Lodge in their neighborhood. Brett Neuspickle shared that he felt “a place like this would expose the kids of Dayton a glimpse of a world of possibilities previously unknown to them. Art fuels creativity” said Brett, “and can give a new perspective to this community.” At that board member Bobby Crittenden asked the crowd, “Are all of you here in support? Or a better question, does anyone have anything to say against?” The room was silent.
Scott’s application was approved by a unanimous vote.
Soon the Lodge will be having art shows, small concerts, and lectures open to the public. As of now it’s approved for an occupancy of 49, but Scott could re-apply for another variance to have a higher occupancy number after new plans are submitted, reviewed, and approved. Scott doesn’t want the Lodge to become a concert venue necessarily, it will remain primarily an artist’s/musician’s workspace. Many hope The Lodge will draw more creative and vibrant businesses to Dayton’s 6th avenue. Time will tell, but for now the Lodge is a very welcome and promising addition to Dayton, Kentucky’s main street.