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Winery Conditional Use Proposed, Still Denied

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 345

Knox County SealMultiple residents of an area near Knoxville came to the Knox County Board once again.  Those making public comments were protesting a proposed winery in their neighborhood.

Hidden Hills Winery, since attempts to receive approval for conditional use on land they currently own were denied, has filed suit against Knox County.

Although reasons varied, nearly all of the residents opposed a recommendation from the County’s Zoning Board of Appeals for Conditional use with restrictions.

That recommendation attempts to allow the production of wine in the form of a vineyard, but restricts the land for use as a winery.

Board member Paul Stewart is also the chair of the County Zoning Committee. He says the four hearings where the winery’s requests were denied was sufficient consideration.

“Those [residents near the proposed winery] last year paid $248,000 worth of property taxes,” Stewart said.  “I think that is something we should consider.  Because, if we introduce something of this nature into that area, I think it might have a negative affect on property values,”

The County Board’s opinions were varied as well with many voting against the recommendations due to its restrictions.

Those restrictions include prior installation of an access road, facilities and utility designs must be approved, items not relating to the production of wine would be disallowed, and a fence or tree barrier must be installed.

Others voted against the restricted conditional use for reasons of resident representation.

The Board denied the recommendation on an 8-6 vote.