Request made, proposed use, location

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Richard G. Black

Special Exception

Staff Report

February 22, 2007


Richard G. Black

Special Exception

Staff Report

February 22, 2007


Petitioner, with consent of owner Derek J. Loverich, is seeking a special exception for a winery, permitted in the A zone by special exception, operating between the hours of 10:00 AM and 7:00 PM, seven days a week with occasional weekday and weekend evening private events ending before 10:00 PM, on property located at 3233 E CR 200 N, Fairfield 14 (NE) 23-4. Two variances have also been filed for this property, (BZA-1735) and must be heard and approved before the special exception can be heard.


The property, zoned R1 since the inception of zoning in the County in 1965, was recently rezoned A, Agricultural by petitioner specifically for this proposed use. All surrounding properties were also originally zoned R1 and remain that way today, except for 77 acres immediately across the county road, which were rezoned to Agricultural in 1976 (Z-768). Flood Plain zoning associated with Wildcat Creek is located farther to the south of the rezone site and also west of the interstate.

Two other special exceptions were applied for in the vicinity of this request: BZA-149, a request for an outdoor advertising sign or billboard denied in 1972 on the site in question, and BZA-472, a request for a home service real estate office (known as home occupations under NUZO and no longer requiring special exceptions) approved in 1981 approximately ¼ mile to the east.
This is only the second special exception for a winery ever filed. The first request, BZA-1673-Jeffrey & Mary Nagy, located at 10804 SR 26 E was withdrawn before the hearing in 2004.

Currently on site is a two-story, single-family dwelling and three accessory structures. The first floor of the house would have the tasting room, retail sales, and the office. The second floor would be used as a residence. Although petitioner has future expansion plans that would change the configuration of the buildings and create additional indoor space, his immediate plans are to leave the buildings in their current arrangement. I-65 forms the western border of this triangular-shaped property; land across the county road is farmed. Large-lot single-family dwellings line CR 200 North on both sides farther to the east of this tract; the property adjacent to the east has a single-family home approximately 90’ from the lot line it shares with the proposed winery. The newly platted, 17-lot, Polo Fields subdivision is under development on the north side of the county road, with Watkins Glen subdivision beyond that to the north.


The ordinance parking standard requires a winery provide, “1 [space] per employee plus 1 per business vehicle plus 1 per 200 sq. ft. of gross floor area of reception, sales, and indoor rooms and outdoor tasting decks and/or patios. Additionally, for public events, grass or gravel overflow parking areas are required and shall be of sufficient size to accommodate all vehicles. Vehicles parked along public roads shall be evidence of non-compliance with this requirement.” Parking lots in the A district do not have to be paved.

The gross floor area of the house and porch is 1800 square feet; therefore 9 parking spaces are needed to meet that portion of the requirement. The application indicates the number of employees would be 3; no business vehicles have been listed, so a minimum of 12 spaces would be necessary. Petitioners have indicated that a stone parking lot would be created between the buildings and the interstate that would provide parking for 18 to 22 cars. An overflow parking area would be provided in the grass south of the stone parking lot.
There are two existing driveways, both of which would be used by the proposed business. The westernmost drive, petitioner plans to enlarge to 20 feet, and would be used as the main customer entrance. The drive to the east of the house would be used as a service drive, for deliveries and as handicapped access. The County Highway Department is satisfied with the locations of the two drives; any driveway entrance improvement would require a permit from the Highway Department.

Petitioner has state approval for a new septic field, half of which would be located within the 60’ wide I-65 building setback, well south of the existing buildings. Two septic tanks are shown on the site plan, one would be next to the septic field, and the second would be used as a holding tank for unwanted wine byproducts. Petitioner has been in contact with the County Health Department, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and the State Board of Health. He has contracted with a certified septic system installer. According to the County Health Department, petitioner simply needs to obtain a permit from their office using the specifications released by the State Department of Health that complies with a 25 seat tasting facility with three employees.


Petitioner is seeking a special exception for a winery where he plans to make and sell wine. Included in the operation will be a tasting area (both inside and outside), as well as a retail sales area. Petitioner intends on having grapes, juices and fruits brought to the site where they will be de-stemmed, crushed, fermented, blended and then bottled. According to the submitted site plan drawings, petitioner intends on utilizing the four existing buildings on this property. The house, building #1, will be used both for a tasting area as well as retail sales. Petitioner plans on living here initially, and may have a caretaker live in the second floor of the house in the future. Attached to the house are a 17’ x 10’ sunroom and a 50’ x 12’ deck that will both be used for tasting areas. The 40’ x 26’ structure, building #2, will be used for wine fermentation and bulk storage of the wine. Bottling and finished good storage will be in the 24’ x 26’ building #3 and the remaining structure, building #4 will be storage for the equipment used in the operation. The site plan also shows a plan for future growth. This would involve removing two buildings (#2 and #3) and relocating the equipment storage building #4 to make way for a 50’ x 100’ building.

Footnote 58 of the UZO’s use table requires a winery in the A district “produce a minimum of 200 gallons of wine and/or brandy per year. Attendance at private events is limited to 85 persons per event. Public events are limited to 3 event days per month and 15 event days per calendar year. Private events at which attendance exceeds 85 persons shall be considered a public event.” The ordinance further stipulates that a winery located in the A district “shall be subject to the setbacks for uses in GB zones. Unroofed outdoor tasting decks and patios are also subject to all setback requirements.”
The petition gives the extent of existing lighting and indicates what lighting is proposed. The revised site plan shows existing lights on the house and a lamppost beside the service drive along with some additional lights. The second page of the site plan package indicates three new lights located at the corners of building #3. These lights would be directed toward the parking area and the pathway leading to the house. The petition states that, “The illumination of the commercial drive and parking lot will be positioned and sized to maximize visibility of customer walking access route and security of the parking area. The positioning of additional lighting will avoid interference with traffic on I-65 and on 200N.”
Noise from the proposed business, according to the petition, would be created by “pump motors, possible electrical converter, grape press, [and a] crusher/de-stemmer”, all of which will be indoors. A typical farm in the A district would create similar types and levels of noise with outdoor equipment. The presence of I-65 generates traffic noise in the vicinity even though the travel lanes are significantly lower in elevation from the site in question. Outdoor events, which could create annoying levels of noise, would conclude by 10:00 PM.
At its meeting on February 7, 2007 the Executive Committee of the Area Plan Commission voted that granting this request would not substantially adversely affect the Comprehensive Plan.
Regarding the ballot items:

  1. Section 3.1 of the Unified Zoning Ordinance DOES authorize the special exception for a winery in the A zoning district.

And it is staff’s opinion that:

  1. The requirements and development standards for the requested use as prescribed by the Unified Zoning Ordinance WILL be met but only if the two variances in BZA-1735 are granted or new buildings are constructed in compliance.

  2. Granting the special exception WILL NOT subvert the general purposes served by the Ordinance. A winery at this site will not be detrimental to the public’s health and safety.

  3. Granting the special exception WILL NOT materially and permanently injure other property or uses in the same district and vicinity because of:

  1. Traffic generation: The petition states that typically 15 additional vehicles would be present (ten customers, two delivery trucks, plus three employees). Petitioner is planning to increase the size of the driveway and provide a parking lot of sufficient size.

  2. Placement of outdoor lighting: According to petitioner’s submitted information, lighting will be directed toward the parking area and walkway leading to the house; lights will be directed away from the adjacent residence to the east and traffic on I-65 and CR 200 N.

  3. Noise production: The amount of noise produced is similar to what is produced at farms and other Agricultural business uses except these machines would be entirely indoors. The noise generated by I-65 would likely overshadow any equipment-generated noise on site.

  4. Hours of operation: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, seven days a week, is not inappropriate for this proposed low-traffic business; occasional outdoor events would conclude by 10:00 PM.



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