A winery and vineyard proposal in South Hall was rejected Monday night by the Hall County Planning Commission.
“That’s a small piece of property for what you’re trying to do, and you’re (proposing) to bus people in there,” Chairman Don Smallwood said. “It looks to me like that’s a recipe for problems.”
The board’s decision is only a recommendation. The Hall County Board of Commissioners will have final say after a March 23 public hearing.
Flowery Branch resident Brad Walton is seeking to get Hall County’s approval for the 5-acre development, which would include a two-story tasting room, off Conner Road, near Jim Crow Road.
His proposal includes “gardened and landscaped areas that could serve as a venue for weddings and other events as the opportunity arises.”
Dolcezza Winery and Vineyard’s tasting room, which would sit near a pond on the property, would house a retail area, as well as a small café. Plus, the development would include a 30-space parking lot.
The tasting room would be open year-round, with hours running from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, Walton’s application states.
Residents speaking at Monday’s meeting were concerned about traffic the development would bring and the narrow road’s ability to handle it.
“We have enough traffic as it is,” John Robert Smith told the planning board. “I have been after Hall County for eight years to widen the road and (stripe it) … and (Hall officials) have given me lip action about doing anything.”
“Are you willing to do anything to the road?” Smallwood asked Walton at one point.
“In the event that I was wildly successful, I would be more than happy to,” Walton said. “But honestly, knowing what that would cost, it would kill (the project). I would be done.”
Charles Turner of Hall County’s engineering department said officials “just can’t get behind this (project) because of the road issues.”
And “it’s the width of the road that’s more of the issue.”
Walton said the development could draw about 25 cars per day, “which, in my opinion, is not … unbearable.”
“I’m certainly not looking at doing Chateau Elan here,” Walton said of the large winery attraction off Interstate 85 in Braselton.