Winery decision postponed in CW

A decision on whether or not Damon Pfeifer can turn a Winchester Pike property into a winery was put on hold at the request of the applicant on Sept. 17.

Canal Winchester Village Council was set to discuss Pfeifer’s appeal of a denial by the Planning and Zoning Commission of a conditional use request to allow the winery in a residentially-zoned district.

During a public hearing on Sept. 4, Pfeifer contended his property was zoned general commercial, but, without his knowledge or public notification, was rezoned residential. Planning and Zoning Administrator Allan Neimayer recommended the applicant’s appeal be denied because it is non-compliant with the code in three key areas including: the lot size is less than 10 acres and does not qualify as a customary agricultural operation since not all of the grapes used in the process are grown on site.

Pfeifer felt the 10-acre rule did not apply only to a continuous lot, but could include other lots in the adjoining area. He told council that 90 percent of Ohio wineries are located in residential areas and his operation was an agricultural usage. Because of previous zoning problems, Pfeifer said he lost major investors in an expanded endeavor and now wants to convert an on-site pole barn into a winery with a tasting room and public sales of bottled wine. He asked for a continuation of the appeal until Oct. 1.

Finance Director Nanisa Osborn said council has until Oct. 12 to make a decision on the appeal of the planning and zoning ruling.

Other CW news

•Mayor Jeff Miller said construction on the new Meijer’s store is progressing quickly.

"This is a great example of multi-jurisdictional agencies working together in concert to get a project done," said Miller. "A very big project which will bring future positive growth, all paid for by the developers. It’s great to see a well-made plan come through. You should be congratulated as well for what looks like one of the finest planned projects created by Meijer’s."

•Miller proposed the village start a new sub-committee made up of interested parties from council, the school board, superintendent, local residents, and community members at large to consider what is to be done with the middle school once the district moves into its new building.

However, the suggestion was met with concern from Councilwoman Bobbie Mershon when she pointed out the nationally-registered structure is owned by the school district.

"I find it strange we’re trying to tell the schools what to do with their own building," said Mershon.

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