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Public Hearing On Chamard Vineyards Tonight

Their application before the town's Planning & Zoning Commission regarding additional farm tourism uses is tonight, 7pm, at town hall.

 

The town's Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) will hold a public hearing tonight, Sept. 5, at 7pm at regarding the application of Chamard Vineyards for additional tourism uses.

This is a continuation of a public hearing which began on July 2 and continued to July 30 and September 5.

The meeting will be held at town hall in the Rose Room (downstairs).

Residents are invited to come and listen, and if they wish, to speak in favor or against the vineyard's application.

For more information about .

Chamard Vineyard's General Manager Jeff Vernon has used the Clinton Patch's forum of "Letters to the Editor" to post this letter which and this letter which goes into further detail about the application for .

As always, the application and accompanying maps are available for public inspection in the Land Use Office of the Andrews Memorial Town Hall.

VIN CIMINO September 05, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Get there early. The Rose Room was packed with standing room only for the last hearing. Residents made it clear that, even without the planned expansion, the applicant is already an unnecessary nuisance. Practically everyone in the room voiced strong opposition to this application. Allowing this operation, which has become less "farm" and more commercial, to expand would be a mistake. Please attend this hearing and voice your opinion.
Jeff Vernon September 05, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Please come out and support Chamard's farm tourism efforts. The silent majority must be heard at tonight's meeting! I have made arrangements for the auditorium if seating is is full in the Rose Room. Please call me directly if you have concerns or questions about current or future operations. Thanks. Jeff Vernon, Chamard General Manager
Jeff Vernon September 05, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Mobile Number: 860-304-4903
VIN CIMINO September 05, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Great, Jeff. I'd like to know approximately what percentage of Chamard's revenue comes from the actual production of wine or "farming". Also, is it true that a small percentage of the wine produced by Chamard actually comes from your grapes with the vast majority of grapes used coming from Chile?
VIN CIMINO September 05, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Jeff, is the owner of Chamard's Vineyard Jonathan Rothberg, the same individual who tried (unsuccessfully) to build a huge 35-foot high observatory in a residential neighborhood in Guilford despite the protests of neighbors?
Jay September 05, 2012 at 05:20 PM
This area is a rural residential area - not a restaurant commercial district. It may seem cute and such to have a winery in town but remember it is nothing but a jumped up bar where people get drunk and make noise and drive dangerously. Not what their trapped neighbors wanted when they bought in this RURAL Residential zone. In addition there is no way that Chamard any sigificant income from this business plan even with the fact they are paying farm property tax rates.
Jeff Vernon September 05, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Wine sales account for almost all our revenue. We need to have more revenue to be a successful farm. We think local food is a logical choice to pair with our wines. Our grapes will make up more than 50% of our winemaking efforts once our new grape plants are producing. That's the same % as it has been for the last 25 years. I invite you to stop in and see for yourself. The initative here to develop the farm into a agribusiness is mine. I am proud to be working to preserve the farm and think it will be good for Clinton and our neighbors. An additional 25 cars a day, 3 days a week will not jam up a road that sees some 2,400 trips a day.
Franko September 05, 2012 at 07:28 PM
It is sad when locals oppose Chamards effort, it is a beautiful operation and property. I guess they would rather have the property over grown with evasive plants and cease current operations. Similar to what happened in downtown Mystic, locals opposed rebuilding a building that was gutted by fire, guess what, it is still an empty site which looks awful. Yes, great job locals!!!!
VIN CIMINO September 05, 2012 at 10:07 PM
It takes three to five years for newly planted grapes to mature. Are you expecting your new enterprises to make up your revenue shortfall until then? I'm familiar with some vineyard operations on Long Island, which are not located in densely populated residential areas. Generally speaking, their wines are produced 100% with their own grapes. Therefore, their business radiates from the agriculture in a manner that is consistent with the neighborhood. It sounds like you're trying to transform a money losing vineyard into a different commercial business and, while I commend your creativity, the new enterprises seems to be even larger potential disturbances of the neighborhood. It's like trying to jam a round peg into a square hole.
VIN CIMINO September 06, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Having just returned from the Planning & Zoning public hearing, I was pleased to see the effort that Jeff has made to understand the concerns of the neighborhood. The greatest concern, it seems, was the late night noise resulting from the large events. Jeff has investigated various sound-deadening options which he plans to implement. More importantly, he has voluntarily changed his hours of operation so that all music will end at 8pm. In light of this, I hope the community will support the vineyard. It can be a real asset for the community and I wish them luck.
Vindaloo September 06, 2012 at 02:00 AM
I attended the public hearing and I'm happy to see people are coming around and realizing what a wonderful asset Chamard Vinyard is to our town, but 8pm is an unreasonable hour to demand the music stops on the weekends. During the week I can see it, but not on a Friday and Saturday night. If they agree to that, they are bending over backwards to please the neighbors, but I think the neighbors are being a bit unfair. If they want to go to bed at 9pm on a Saturday night, they should not expect the world to stop operating around them. But, if that has been the agreement, then so be it. Better than nothing. What will happen when one of those neighbors wants to have an outdoor party at their house and they have to end it at 8:00? Anyway..... thank you Chamard Vinyard for being part of our town. I'm proud to have you here.
VIN CIMINO September 06, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Jeff said that it wasn't until he went and visited neighbors that he realized just how loud the music was. He said that he then understood the complaints. Previously, there was no effective dialogue between the vineyard and the neighbors. No one demanded that the music stop at 8pm. It was Jeff's own decision and that's what impressed me most. Both sides should be commended for taking the time to understand each other's position.
Vindaloo September 06, 2012 at 12:15 PM
He probably decided that because he was getting complaints about people hearing music at 9pm on weekend evenings. Because he needs to runs his business, it doesn't leave him much choice. i think it's more than fair of him to suggest a turn off time of 8pm, but I don't think it's reasonable to hold him to that. I think it would be best if the music could be able to go to 10pm on weekends but after 8 the volume or style of music can tone down a bit.. That seems more reasonable.
VIN CIMINO September 06, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Jeff was clear that he wants to be a good neighbor and that he didn't realize the music was that loud until he visited neighbors and heard it for himself. He also made it clear that he wants his neighbors to become customers. His voluntary decision to curtail music at 8pm was a good business decision, as was his decision to utilize sound-deadening materials. Of course, Jeff will abide by the decision. He knows that the Planning & Zoning commission and the neighbors relied on what he told them. 8pm is 8pm and, in that densely populated residential neighborhood, 8pm is reasonable and smart.
Jeff Vernon September 06, 2012 at 02:42 PM
8 pm on the 8 large events was are allowed to have. mostly we're talking about a band performing at a wedding. the acoustical music that is inside and accompanies tastings on the normal weekends already ends at 8. and our neighbors can't hear it anyway.
VIN CIMINO September 06, 2012 at 02:45 PM
That was my understanding as well and it sounds very reasonable.
Vindaloo September 06, 2012 at 02:46 PM
If that's the deal between the neighborhood and the business, that;s up to them and if it works for both of them, then that's great. As long as it is not a townwide ordinance, then it's none of my business, aside from the fact that I believe the business is good for the town and I wouldn't want to see them fail because of this curfew. Farm business's are often located in residential areas and are considered an asset to their neighborhood. I stand by my words that 8pm is unreasonable. Other accomodations, such as sound barrier structures or plantings, I'm sure will help, Quiet, acoustic music should be allowed til 10pm. A few adjustments on both sides should work out well for everyone. .
Jeff Vernon September 06, 2012 at 02:51 PM
no ordinance or even request from the Town. it's how we would like to conduct business. we will continue to evolve and initiate change in ways that benefit Chamard and our neighbors.
VIN CIMINO September 06, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Bravo!
Susan Barr September 07, 2012 at 03:09 AM
I love all of your ideas for the vinyard Jeff. I hope Planning and Zoning approve the bistro for you and for Clinton. I will certainly come and visit, with friends!!!

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