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County to consider permit for winery

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Bernalillo County staff has recommended denying a special-use permit that would allow for the operation of a winery and art gallery along Alameda Boulevard.

The proposed Alameda Valley Vineyards has been met with opposition from neighbors in the immediate area. Landowner Xavier Zamarripa has tried unsuccessfully to win some of them over, hosting public information meetings and talking individually with nearby homeowners.

The Bernalillo County Planning Commission will consider Zamarripa’s special-use permit application during its Wednesday meeting. The property is located near Guadalupe Trail in a residential zone, and the operation of a winery and gallery there requires a special-use permit, because they are commercial endeavors. In a memo to the commission, staff recommends denial of Zamarripa’s request.

“We are in the process of reviewing the staff decision and have already identified numerous factual inaccuracies,” Zamarripa said in an email to the Journal on Friday.

Among its findings, staff states:

  • According to county guidelines, any new commercial development along Alameda must be between Fourth and Second streets;
  • Land use policy requires the retention of existing residential zoning on Alameda;
  • The development will be harmful to adjacent residential properties because it will bring additional noise, traffic and “activities that normally do not take place within residential uses and zones”; and
  • The project does not have neighborhood support and will not be “consistent with the health, safety and general welfare of residents of the county.”

Zamarripa said there are neighbors who support the project.

“Alameda Valley Vineyards has been working with the residents over the last year to incorporate their recommendations into our master plan,” he said.

Peter Clark’s property borders the proposed project, and he’s opposed to it, as is Kate Brown, who lives a few doors down from Clark. The two said that, although Zamarripa has agreed to some changes, they think the winery would become a big headache for neighbors. It will have limited hours, acoustic music only and be limited to 85 guests.

“There is no good way to enforce this,” Brown said. “If there is a violation, who will we call? It will be the weekend. I don’t want to live my life policing this.”

Zamarripa has said previously that residents could call him directly with concerns, even late at night and on weekends.

“It’s too much of a burden for residents,” Clark said. “It’s going to have a wall around it. Are we supposed to peer over the wall and count guests? We can’t do that.”

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