Honora Winery brewpub approved locally


WILMINGTON >> A beer brewing operation with a small restaurant has gotten local approval.

Honora Winery & Vineyard has obtained a conditional use permit for a brewpub, restaurant and retail operation at 211 Route 9 East. Wilmington's Development Board Review addressed the application at a hearing on Dec. 21, which continued on Jan. 4.

"They are going to need water and wastewater," said Zoning Administrator Craig Ohlson. "Their wastewater permit that was issued five years ago doesn't account for any of the restaurant seats."

The town is trying to assist with the sewer line connection. Ohlson said there are discussions with the Wilmington Water District and Wilmington Wastewater Treatment Plant for the project.

In the meantime, Honora will be going through the state's Act 250 permitting process. Criteria addresses concerns around environmental impact.

In 2011, the winery received approval for a business with retail space, a restaurant and artist co-op at the property. The plans never materialized, leaving the building unoccupied.

"Honora Winery applied for and received approval to reconstruct on the original footprint a series of connected barns on the subject property," the board wrote in its latest decision. "The exterior construction was completed. However, not all the interior work was completed. It also applied and received approval to have a wine tasting room, retail sales, manufacturing and one apartment. None of these uses were ever started and the property is presently unoccupied."

The building has four main areas, identified as barns in the decision, and they stretch out over approximately 22,000 square feet in total.

"The applicant stated that the exact areas for the proposed uses are unknown at this time," the board wrote. "Interior walls still need to be constructed and, at this point, no firm contracts have been signed."

But the first barn is expected to have a one-bedroom apartment on the upper level with a brew pub, restaurant and kitchen on the main level. Seating will be available for up to 36 people. The lowest level could be used as state tourism space, the decision said.

The second barn will be designated for wine and beer tasting and associated retail seats.

"I think the only expansion of the building itself will be a larger patio out front to accommodate additional seating for the restaurant and I think for ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act access) too," said Ohlson, anticipating his own administrative review of the patio later on.

A brewery and retail space will be set up in the third barn. How the last area's lower level will be used is up in the air. But the second level could see classrooms or workspace.

"There would be an average of eight employees on site at any one time," the decision said. "The building will be open seven days a week."

Contact Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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