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Proposed winery, minus restaurant, gets town support

After months of heated debate between neighbors and confusion over the exact nature of Bellevinez Winery, the Clifton Town Board voted July 2 to recommend to Pierce County a conditional use permit for the winery, minus the proposed restaurant.

The Town Board based its recommendation for the winery and vineyard on the recommendation from the town's Planning Commission.

After review by the Planning Commission, board members agreed to approve the winery, located at W10887 875th Ave., without any menu.

The only Plan Commissioner who voted no was Warren Wilson. He felt groundwater and wastewater plans were not properly addressed.

The Planning Commission agreed Shannon and Angel Zimmerman can retail and sell the wine they produce.

The Zimmermans want to have a restaurant onsite that would serve a "light menu," consisting of wood-fired pizzas, pastas and other food to go with the wine.

The Planning Commission decided the proposed limited menu and restaurant were not clearly defined, were problematic and a case of spot zoning, which is not allowed under the town's Comprehensive Plan.

For a restaurant to be allowed, the business would have to be zoned commercial.

The recommendation also would not allow food to be brought in or catered, or food to be prepared onsite that would require a license.

The Planning Commission and Town Board both agreed the proposed restaurant portion of the permit was not a nature-based operation.

Pierce County officials will have the final say and address the issue at a public hearing in the next few weeks.

The Zimmermans' neighbors were vocal in their opposition to the winery, especially the commercial restaurant. Close to 100 people signed a petition against the business.

Many hired attorney Catherine Munkittrick to represent them. Concerns included increased traffic, noise, a commercial business in a rural setting, groundwater and wastewater plans and hours of operation.

The Zimmermans are now requesting the winery be open year-round, with the primary dates of operation being May 15 to Dec. 31, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

While the Zimmerman family was not at the meeting, many neighbors were and said they plan to voice their opinions at the county's public hearing.

In other business:

nTown Supervisor Joe Rohl reported he inspected 742nd Street after three residents complained about its condition at last month's meeting. Rohl said the shoulder has washed out in some places and needs fixing.

Town Board Chairman Leroy Peterson said Pierce County has agreed to shape up the shoulders this summer, using a larger grade of rock that won't erode so easily.

nRohl also received the green light to begin work on a town of Clifton website.

nThe board voted to sealcoat 757th Street from County Road F to 770th Street. Patching will also be done on 770th.

nA building permit was approved for the Iren Hildebrandt Family Trust for a pole shed, W11394 Hwy. 29.

30 p.m. with Board of Review following from 6-8 p.m. This is residents chance to address property tax questions.