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Owners of planned destination winery seek variances to make project a reality


The would-be purveyors of a proposed destination winery in Wrightstown have made progress in their plan to launch the viticulture venture, but additional township approvals are still needed.

The Rienzi family is keen to establish the winery on a nearly 26-acre property they own on the 500 block of Swamp Road. They need certain variances – special exceptions – from local zoning and planning rules to do so.

After recently reviewing a variance application, Wrightstown’s Planning Commission recommended that the township’s Board of Supervisors look favorably upon the requests. Supervisors learned of the recommendation at their Monday, Oct. 17 meeting.

The Planning Commission’s suggestion to supervisors is not binding. However, the three-person board, which locally governs Wrightstown, will take it into account as they consider the winery’s proposal. Ultimately, the family will need land development approval from supervisors to proceed.

Supervisor Chairman Chester Pogonowski said supervisors could hold a discussion with representatives for the Rienzi family at a work session meeting on Oct. 24. It would be premature to comment more before then, he said.

The winery owners are also due to appear before the local zoning hearing board as part of their quest to create what’s been described as an attractive, classy winery that holds tastings and events. The hearing before the zoning hearing board, which will focus on variance requests, is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 2.

Beyond cultivating grapes and producing and storing wine on-site, the operation, as envisioned, would include retail and wholesale sales of wine, tasting rooms, a bed and breakfast, and a special events venue.

In all, seven variances are being sought.

They include seeking permission to encroach into a Zone One and Zone Two Riparian Buffer Overlay Zone to connect and widen existing driveways; to allow an impervious surface ratio of 13% where a maximum of 5% coverage is permitted; and to allow 11,123 square feet of floor area to be devoted to serving winery customers when a maximum of 3,000 square feet of floor area is currently allowed given the nature of the business and size of the property.

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