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After Vineyard Decisions, County Faces Legal Action

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 292

Knox County SealA winery planned to be located near Knoxville is filing suit against Knox County.
In the four count suit filed by the Hidden Hills Winery on Monday, the Zoning Board of Appeals and the County’s Zoning Committee are all cited as defendants.According to court records, the suit seeks declaratory judgment based on improper voting, procedures, and basis for denial.
Hidden Hills, which owns two other wineries, sought to construct a building on property owned since 2012 along Fleisher Road in Knoxville.
The winery accuses the County of improper voting, procedures, and basis for denial. A fourth count also claims that Counties have a limited capacity in the state to regulate agriculture.
Knox County was without a winery permit, but one was created to make room for the winery last year.
Among the arguments cited by Hidden Hills Attorney James Skinner was that the County’s Zoning Board of Appeals failed to provide a “finding of fact” for a recommendation to the subsequent boards.
The Galesburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s Tourism Council has come out in support of the winery locating in Knox County.
The suit also alleges that the full County Board alone has the authority to ultimately approve or deny the request, but a formal vote was never taken.