CUPs for Winery/Event Center

Dean and Lisa Erickson discussed their applications for 2 conditional usage licenses (CUP) at the December 15 conference of the Fillmore County planning commission. During the public hearings, their comprehensive growth and construction plans at the Windy Willow Vineyard situated in Section 9, Preston Town were explained.

Both CUPs, for a Farm Winery and for an Ag Tourist Service, were obtained all at once. The couple has a two-phase prepare for the expansion. Beginning in May of 2017, they prepare to begin hosting weddings and other occasions utilizing a leased tent and portable toilets. Parking will be in the lawn. There will be room for about 75 lorries and up to about 200 visitors. They anticipate hosting 10-15 weddings in a season. Erickson said there will be no cooking on the premises, as it will be catered in. Any hard liquors for an occasion will be generated by a certified vender.

Also, of 2017’s spring, the couple will begin construction of a 16 foot x 32 foot winery production structure with a 3,000 gallon production capability. In 2018, they will begin building on a permanent 6,500 square foot winery/tasting space and production space with a capacity for the production of 10,000 gallons of wine. Erickson stated the very first, smaller building will become utilized for storage. The larger building will have washrooms, tasting room, conference centers, and an entertainment location. There will be parking space for 150 vehicles.

Construction is anticipated to continue into 2019. A 3,000-square-foot place structure is also planned. It will have a toilet and bar location for beer and wine sales. This building is to be used for weddings, restaurant and winery and other events. Zoning administrator Cristal Adkins stated this is the first winery application of this kind to be considered by the preparation commission.

There was some conversation about the existing driveway off Ridge Road and whether it must be improved in some way. There was no comment from area authorities or the public on the application for Farm Winery. The application was approved and will be sent on to the county board for their consideration. One condition is attached; the county engineer will have to approve the driveway gain access to.

Throughout the public hearing for the Ag Tourist Business, the commission talked about conditions that were placed on previous CUPs that have been approved in this classification. Conditions have included band/entertainment to end by midnight and evidence of liability insurance coverage. Erickson had no problem with entertainment ending by midnight as there was still the classic yarra valley breakfast and expected to have liability insurance coverage.

There was no remark from township authorities. Next-door neighbor Mike Johnson spoke in support of Erickson’s service strategies. He said he was a feedlot owner. Johnson had questions about the time frame and if there will be a have to reapply for a CUP down the road. Adkins stated if they satisfy the policies laid out in the regulation, the CUP will be good forever. The CUPs will choose the home were it to be sold.

There was no remark versus the Ag Tourism Organisation CUP. The CUP was authorized with two conditions: band/entertainment to end by midnight and no on roadway parking. It will be sent on to the county board for their consideration.

Visit http://fillmorecountyjournal.com/cups-for-wineryevent-center/ to read more.