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Ordinance Compliance by Small Village

Discussion in 'Other Governmental Matters' started by John Hrusky, Jan 21, 2019.

  1. John Hrusky

    John Hrusky Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Wisconsin
    We have an ongoing issue with a small village of around 800 people that we would like to better understand our rights within:

    We own real estate in this small village (we do not reside in the village but in a nearby community instead). We want to open a very small Winery. We have already been licensed by the ATF as well as the State of Wisconsin. All we need is for the Village to allow us to operate in the location we own.

    Currently, that location is zoned "Res / Light Commercial District: R/C-1" (See below as to the actual zoning ordinance) Our argument is that we seem to fit in best with item D, 'Specialized Retail', as our Winery will be VERY small and the vast majority of our business will be making and bottling wine. We will sell specialized wine-related items such as clothing, trinkets, signs, glassware, etc., and we will have some sampling of wine albeit this will be a rather small part of the business as the customer area is only about 200 square foot and much of our production will be sold to restaurants and supper clubs. The Village seems to be saying we would need to locate in a Commercial district as opposed to the Residential/Light Commercial one our building is in. We believe they are comparing a small winery to a tavern or bar which is vastly difference as in winery there are no late hours no loud music, and the business is essentially manufacturing and retail.

    One additional item in case it matters: our area is surrounded by commercial establishments: A bank, a Hair dresser, a Physical Therapy center, an Antique Store, and then 2 homes. I don't know if that matters but just in case.

    We already have other businesses in town and have been there for decades, a small gym and a computer repair shop, both in 100% good standing and never has there been a problem. Unfortunately, this village for years as been a very tight "click" of people who almost seem jealous of anyone if they are successful and wish to expand.

    Does anyone know what we can do or how we should proceed in order to achieve a common sense ruling by this village in allowing a micro winery to utilize our building?

    Thank you.


    ORDINANCE:
    5.08 Res / Light Commercial District: R/C-1
    1. Purpose. To encourage a mixture of residential, commercial and civic uses, with commercial uses restricted to those that seem to fit the size, scale, and intensity of the village setting. To encourage the sort of enterprise that can easily be conducted in a converted residence and that nearby residents might be inclined to walk to.
    2. Permitted Uses.
    A. Single family detached residential Dwellings.
    B. Two family attached residential Dwellings.
    C. Personal service shops such as hairstyling, tailoring, shoe repair, and dry cleaning.
    D. Specialized retail, commonly defined as gift shops, florist, book stores, jewelry, apparel, tobacco, toys and crafts, stationary, and similar uses.
    E. Business or professional offices, such as real estate and insurance offices, travel agencies, medical, dental and veterinary offices, banks and other financial institutions.
    F. Similar and compatible uses as determined by the Zoning Committee.

    3. Conditional Uses.
    A. Automobile service stations.
    B. Battery, muffler and tire service stations.
    C. Farm and other machinery and equipment sales and service.
    D. Motor Vehicle sales and service including automobiles, trucks, motorcycles and snowmobiles.
    E. Mobile Home and model home sales and service.
    F. Laundromats.
    G. Taverns.
    H. Any "drive-in" type establishments.
     
  2. flyingron

    flyingron Active Member

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    Frankly (and I've worked in, for, and with wineries), I'd not term a winery as a "retail" establishment if by winery you mean a place that produces wine as opposed to just having a "tasting room."

    Your best bet is to seek out an attorney who is familiar with the local land use bodies and see whether an argument can be made that your use is in harmony with the zoning and other ordinances and what the best way to proceed is.
     
    hrforme likes this.
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    What I see is that ordinance applies to retail and service businesses. No matter how you spin it your business is a brewery/distillery/manufacturer that happens to serve alcoholic beverages on the premises.

    Implying that delivery vehicles will be going in and out of the neighborhood.

    So? If you get to operate the business, what difference does it make? Are there costly conditions that you have to comply with to get approval?

    That's "clique" not "click." Sure, blame the jealous people if you can't do an end run around the ordinance.

    By the way, I see that you haven't posted the ordinance section that does cover breweries/distilleries/manufacturing.
     
    hrforme likes this.
  4. John Hrusky

    John Hrusky Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for your comments. To answer, I did not post the ordinance regarding breweries/distilleries/manufacturing because there are none in this Village -- there is a Commercial ordinance that does list taverns and bars but it's vague. And we do not have a problem with being labeled whatever we are labeled and no, there are no costly conditions to comply with. The sole objection is from one residential neighbor who also had an objection with the exact same property when we knocked down an old car wash building that was an eyesore and rebuilt an upscale one story building on the exact same footprint. We are not trying to do anything against anyone, only to operate a very small business and bother no one.

    I am not sure what is required to obtain a"conditional use" permit but the ordinance does mention that in terms of taverns so I suspect that may be an avenue we have pursue if necessary.
     
  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Then what's the problem? Did you apply for approval and get turned down? Or what?
     
  6. flyingron

    flyingron Active Member

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    It could be anywhere from difficult to impossible. Further, there's likely required to be a hearing and specific notice requirements (both posted and mailed). You really need to speak to an attorney about this.
     
  7. John Hrusky

    John Hrusky Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I was asking for advice before we continue. It seems to make more sense to go in as knowledgeable as possible than to try and correct a mistake made after the fact, at least to me.
     
  8. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Your business does one thing, the ordinance applies to something else. There isn't any knowledge that you can acquire ahead of time that's going to change that.

    If you raise ducks and the ordinance allows chickens, what you're asking is akin to asking "How do I convince the village that my ducks are chickens?"

    Doesn't work that way.
     

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