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Rosehall hamlet vineyard gets go-ahead for estate winery re-zoning

By Sharon Harrison
A proposed new estate winery, Del Degan Winery, will be coming to Hillier having met with approval by council at Wednesday’s planning and development committee meeting.

The applicant, Bufflehead Holdings Inc., which purchased the property in 2022, was looking to have the land located at 17945 Loyalist Parkway, in the hamlet of Rosehall, re-zoned from Rural 2 (RU2) to the Special Rural 2 (RU2-90) to permit an estate winery.

Council’s decision came with little discussion, and no comments were received from members of the public.

The zoning bylaw amendment application would allow several buildings with a proposed storage building that would also include an administrative office, a retail store and washrooms.

“Another building would house the winery operations, and a third building would be occupied by a restaurant, tasting room and solarium/music room,” noted County policy planner, Scott Pordham’s report. “The buildings would be joined by an enclosed courtyard.”

The application would be subject to several special provisions to include a maximum height of 16.5 metres (54.1 feet) for an architectural feature on the building, a maximum height of 10 metres (32.8 feet) for the gate and signage at the front entrance, and a minimum parking requirement (72 spaces).

A single detached residence will also be constructed to accommodate the operations manager.

An Environmental Protection (EP) zone will also be created in proximity to the Hubbs Creek watercourse that crosses the property and associated coastal wetlands and ensure a 30-metre development setback is maintained.

The uses within the estate winery consist of a winery; a hospitality building containing a restaurant (with approximately 60 seats) and access to a solarium/music area, and an administration area accommodating office, retail and storage uses, stated the RFA Planning Consultant report.

“An interior reception courtyard will connect the above uses and will also feature a tasting bar,” said Ruth Ferguson Aulthouse, RFA president. “The proposed uses are small in scale and represent a lot coverage of approximately 1.4 percent.”

One driveway entrance will be provided from Loyalist Parkway and will lead to the parking area, according to the RFA report. Articulation of the complex has been designed to simulate a cluster of typical farm buildings, including a barn and silo thereby complimenting the rural farming character of the area.

It was noted the substantial size of the property allows for significant building setbacks from Loyalist Parkway and existing homes.

“Staff noted the proposed development is approximately 250 metres from the closest portion of the wetland on-site and that there appears to be an elevation change of approximately five metres (16.4 feet) to provide a more prudent setback,” noted the report.

The 21.1 hectare (52.1 acre) parcel has approximately 212 metres (695.5 feet) of frontage along Loyalist Parkway. The land is designated as hamlet, and under the official plan, Loyalist Parkway is identified as a tourism corridor.

Pordham notes the property is currently developed with a 185 square metre (2.000 square foot) farm storage building, and 138 square metre (1,490 square foot) worker housing, and approximately 8.2 hectares (20.3 acres) of vineyards.

In addition to the 8.2 hectare vineyards, a 0.43 hectare orchard will be planted in the agricultural area to the west of the proposed winery complex.

“The property is relatively flat farmland gently sloping to the south where a watercourse (Hubbs Creek) and associated wetlands are located.”

A presentation by RFA Planning Consultant, while available to council members, was not available to those tuning in via live-stream as there was no audio sound for the duration of the presentation.

Councillor Roy Pennell said he noted how the hydro study was prepared in August, but asked what month the testing was done, where he was informed pumping tests were done in December 2022, with follow-up pumping tests done August 2023.

Pennell then asked what area the zoning covers, and if it was re-zoning as far as buildings for selling product, and was the green spot the only spot being re-zoned.

RFA confirmed the re-zoning applied to the whole property “because it is in its entirety an estate winery”, adding the green area is the EP zone that is proposed.

“If you are re-zoning agricultural land, and the other, basically are we not as soon as we put it under that zoning and start adding buildings, is there no reason why you couldn’t come back into the farmland and add buildings there for different purposes,” asked Pennell.

Pordham was understandably confused by the question, and upon further clarification by Pennell, Pordham confirmed the zoning applies to the whole property.

“The proposal is to have the whole buildings located relatively centrally on the property and certainly that would be confirmed through the site plan control process,” Pordham explained. “In terms of the zoning, if they wanted to move the location of the buildings slightly, they could do that through the re-zoning if they complied with setback requirements.”

Pennell came back again asking, “if there was anything to stop in the future for the applicant to go ahead and apply for a building permit and just add more buildings, that is truly farmland?”

“In terms of adding more buildings to it, the land would be subject to site plan control agreement identifying the building area,” Pordham explained, “so if another building was proposed at a later date, an amending agreement would have to be prepared for the property.”

Pordham further noted that the vineyards are already planted on the property and “I would think that would be an impediment to actually proposing development in place of those vineyards; that would be a costly endeavour to the property owner”.

Michael Michaud, manager of planning, said the owner, or any future owner, would not be able to put in a hotel or a resort as they have would have to come back for a re-zoning. “It’s not going to happen” he said.

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