Loudon group now looking to place winery outside Townsend
By Iva Butler | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Cades Cove Cellars Winery developers still want to locate in Townsend — just not within the city limits.
The Loudon County group came before Townsend Planning Commission in late April with plans to locate a winery in the Apple Valley Country Store complex off East Lamar Alexander Parkway in Townsend. The group’s stockholders are the Bill Birkholz family and Jerry Reed.
The group currently operates Tennessee Valley Winery, which is located off Interstate 75 south in Loudon County. Stockholders wanted to open a second location at Apple Valley in early July, but they hit a roadblock when they learned Townsend had no law that would permit a winery within the city limits.
Townsend City Commission and Planning Commission have discussed what would have to be done to permit a winery in the city.
In fact, Townsend City Commission has a called meeting for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Townsend Municipal Building to discuss an ordinance that would define a winery and allow it as a special exception in the Business zone.
The commission’s decision could pave the way for future wineries.
Exploring other areas
The Loudon County group is already exploring other areas, Birkholz said in an interview Tuesday with The Daily Times. “Restrictions and the time frame” have made them decide to locate in the area rather than the city.
Birkholz said he would like to open in a 5,000- to 6,000-square-foot building possibly by the first of the year, doing both manufacturing and sales. The group will know more in the next 30 days.
Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell and Building Commissioner Roger Fields said they have not talked to anyone about a winery.
The group wanting to open a winery would have the same problem with zoning in the county as in the city of Townsend, Fields said.
Most of the county is zoned Residential, and manufacturing and sale of wine would not be allowed in that zone, he said. It could possibly open in a Commercial or maybe Industrial zone.
Commercial zones are in the urban growth boundaries around the cities and along major arterial roads. Industrial zones are largely confined to the industrial parks.