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Former nursery site of planned town of Troy winery

A winery is proposed at the site of a former nursery in the town of Troy.

Wineries are popping up all over western Wisconsin, and the town of Troy is no exception.

Daniel Koepke presented plans to the Troy Town Board at the May 9 meeting to open Cracked Barrel Winery at 570 Coulee Trail.

He and his wife plan to operate a vineyard, tasting room and gift shop and asked the board to recommend to the county a special exception permit.

The property, which Koepke was in the process of buying at the time of the meeting, is zoned ag-residential. It used to house St. Croix Gardens, a nursery and landscaping business.

Supervisor Jan Cuccia said a winery falls under the special exception rules: a limited commercial recreational activity that promotes agriculture and is unlikely to attract other commercial businesses.

Since no restaurant is planned for the site, the winery would not need to be zoned commercial. Restaurants are not allowed to operate under special exception permits.

Koepke said they plan to serve cheese and crackers complimentary with the wine tastings, and cheese and crackers will be for sale in the gift shop.

They do not plan to sell food from a menu or open a restaurant.

Cuccia was worried about "the slippery slope" of selling gift shop food turning into a restaurant.

Koepke assured the board no restaurant would ever be opened.

Koepke said it takes roughly three years for grapes to become wine quality grapes. Until then they will be purchasing local grapes and grapes from California to make their wine.

The two-story winery building will house a fermentation area, lab, gift shop and tasting area on the main floor. The Koepkes plan to live on the second floor.

Fred Martin, 483 Bauer Road, lives next door to the property. He said he and his neighbors, the Homme and Tuomala families, support the winery and are excited to have it in their area.

The board agreed to recommend a special exception permit to the county with the following conditions: hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; any installed outdoor lighting must be downward cast; no restaurant food can be served; and the town board can do a review of the permit in one to two years.

Koepke must apply for a liquor license before the winery can open.

In other business, Dennis Finstad, 303 Townsvalley Road, asked the board to evaluate the water runoff problem on his property.

Finstad said the problem has worsened since Townsvalley Road was rebuilt in 2010.

This year Finstad's driveway was washed out when water dammed up and ran over his driveway.

According to Rob Jones of Cedar Corporation, the town raised the grade of the road five inches, widened the road two feet and added three-foot shoulders. Two culverts were replaced too.

Finstad said a berm on his land that helped control water runoff was lessened when the road was rebuilt.

Jones said Finstad's land is a low area where water converges at the culverts going under his driveway. He also said he thinks the driveway would have washed out, even without the road improvements, because of the extreme snow and ice pack in the ditches this year.

Finstad said he wants the berm built back up and his driveway raised to alleviate the problem.

Supervisor Dave Hense agreed, and also suggested Finstad move his propane tank since it almost came loose from the recent snow melt flooding.

Hense, Jones and the town road crew plan to meet with Finstad and discuss options and a cost estimate and report back to the board next meeting.

@by:Other Business

@t:--The board accepted a bid from R.M Schlosser Excavating of Durand for the Chinnock Lane intersection project at a cost of $51,647.75 contingent on receipt of bonding and insurance. Five percent of the project cost was also set aside in case of minor changes. This project is funded with impact fees.

--The board asked Cedar Corporation to figure out a cost estimate for updating the town's transportation plan maps.

--The board approved Board Chair Dan Pearson adding a fourth member to the Troy Zoning Authority Planning Project steering committee.

--The board allotted up to $600 to replace the steel floor in the town's furniture recycling box.

--The Cove Boat Ramp officially opened on April 26. The ramp and gangway won't be installed until water recedes.

-- Pemble's Beach may not open until the weekend of May 17 due to high water. Residents are warned to be careful of the strong river current there.