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Owner prunes back plans for winery

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rw00_jd_28sept_WineryThe owner of a proposed North Valley winery has decided to scale back his plans after neighbors expressed concern that the endeavor would bring excessive traffic, noise and drunken drivers.

Xavier Zamarripa is trying to obtain a special use permit from Bernalillo County for a winery and art gallery because the property is zoned residential. The property is in Alameda near Guadalupe Trail.

Zamarripa held a public meeting Monday night at the Raymond G. Sanchez Community Center to provide an update on his plans.

Zamarripa said he took to heart the community’s concerns and made some changes to his plans after a meeting in September.

For example, the maximum number of people allowed on the property at any given time would be 85 instead of the 126 discussed at the last meeting. Parking would be reduced from 55 to 50 spaces, and the art gallery would be moved closer to the road.

Also, the vineyard would have limited hours. It would open by appointment only on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It would be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday during the summer and until 5 p.m. during the winter. It would be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays year round.

Zamarripa also wants to open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the balloon fiesta, and from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. for art receptions 10 days a year.

Neighbors at Monday’s meeting still expressed some concerns about the project. They fear the special-use permit would open the door for future commercial development if Zamarripa should ever sell the property. However, he said that would not happen.

A special-use permit would allow him to deviate from residential uses but only for those uses specifically outlined in the permit. In this case, that would be a winery and art gallery. Those same restrictions would transfer to any new owner. He said they would have to go through the entire process again if they wanted to use the land for something other than a winery and art gallery.

Zamarripa may go before the Bernalillo County Planning Commission as early as December. Even if he receives approval, he must still deal with the covenants of the subdivision. The covenants restrict any usage on the property to residential.

Zamarripa said last week that he did not want to discuss the issue, saying it was a “private matter.”

“It doesn’t concern anybody but the landowners in that subdivision,” he said. “That does not need to be discussed publicly.”

The issue was raised by Zamarripa’s neighbors during September’s meeting.

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