JEROME - The Town Council voted Tuesday night to approve the second reading of Ordinance 380, which amends the town's zoning ordinance to add viniculture as a conditional use in the portion of town zoned for agriculture and residential. A second reading of Ordinance 381 is scheduled for the next town council meeting. That ordinance will define viniculture by setting the minimum number of vines that will constitute viniculture.
Councilman Lew Currier said the council has now allowed for viniculture but questions remain about the industries that may surround the commercial growing of grapes for wine. He said other businesses, such as bottling, will likely appear.
"Industry in the AR zone is not OK," Currier said.
Mayor Jay Kinsella said, "This is just one step. There are plenty more steps to continue the process."
The council has been working for many months on defining how viniculture would be allowed in the town's AR zone. During the process, a stakeholders committee was formed to advise and make recommendations to the council.
During recent meetings, the council has tackled the questions of how to define commercial viniculture so the town's ordinance would not infringe on domestic grape production. That question was discussed at length, and public comments were considered.
In the end, the council decided to allow, under proposed Ordinance 381, up to 100 vines per half acre for domestic use. During the process, council members stated several times there was no intent to infringe upon the right of private parties to grow grapes for personal use.
A definition of viniculture, however, was necessary in the ordinance to create classifications for commercial and domestic grape production.
The original proposal defined domestic use as up to 20 vines per half acre. Several residents felt that 20 vines was far too restrictive for personal use. The council and staff researched the question and sought input from residents and experts in viniculture.
Commercial viniculture operations will pay a $5,000 fee for a dedicated water meter to regulate water use.