While some envision a romantic vineyard and wine tasting area overlooking Cherokee Marsh, neighbors say the proposal would cause additional traffic, light pollution and noise, and destroy their peaceful Town of Westport area.
More than 70 neighbors signed a petition opposing a winery proposed for Cherokee Valley Pass in the Town of Westport, saying the plan is inconsistent with the neighborhood use.
David Korb had approached the plan commission seeking a conceptual review of the winery proposal. In a second meeting with neighbors recently, Korb presented a scaled down plan. A plan for a 250-person capacity facility is now shown as a building for 100. The parking lot size was also reduced.
For Dick and Pat Teslaw, whose property abuts the proposed wine tasting building, the revised plans are still unacceptable. The Teslaws point out that the building would sit just uphill from their home, with its lights shining down on them.
In their rural neighborhood, the idea of the wine tasting business with receptions lasting until 12:30 or 1 a.m. is a concern, they said.
Dick Teslaw said his neighbor initially approached him about a small tasting establishment, but the plan then grew.
“This is too much,” Teslaw said.
They say the location is just not appropriate for such an operation.
Neighbors Jerry and Monica Paffenroth agree.
Monica Paffenroth said she was told the establishment could have 40 to 50 events per year with several dozen people on their neighbors’ property to look at the vista and listen to music.
“It all sounds romantic, but to some people, it is noise,” Paffenroth said.
Jerry Paffenroth added that essentially, the proposal is for a tavern that will cause extra patrol from the Dane County Sheriff’s Office.
River Road area resident Liese Pfeifer agreed, adding the area has no other liquor licenses or manufacturing facilities. Pfeifer also opposes allowing a liquor license in the area, adding many neighbors are “adamantly against” it.
She and neighbors support maintaining the area’s agricultural and residential use, she said.
Korb first introduced his plan to the Waunakee and Westport Joint Plan Commission in February.
It calls for the Amante Winery LLC to be located on 7.55 acres on a River Road hilltop as an agribusiness.
Amante Winery has yet to file an application for a rezone from residential to allow for new use, according to Tom Wilson, Westport administrator. Located in Waunakee’s extraterritorial zoning area, it would require public hearings before the plan commission, joint plan commission, town board and ultimately Waunakee Village Board.
If Amante Winery files an application later this month, the matter would come before the Westport Plan Commission June 10 and joint commission June 11 before being referred to the boards.
“People who live out there are certainly going to have concerns,” Wilson said. “An argument needs to be made about how does this fit in, how is this compatible with what’s going on on River Road?”
Issues to work out will be the hours of operation, parking restrictions and access, Wilson said. Privacy plantings may also be required, Wilson said.
“There’s already a neighborhood there. You’ve got to listen to the people who have lived there for years and years. Is this appropriate or is this appropriate somewhere else?” Wilson said.
The Teslaws say their property rights are at risk, and they plan to hire an attorney to represent them and the neighborhood if need be.
“Anything (Korb) would do would be tastefully done,” Pat Teslaw said. “This is just too much.”