Danville gives first reading to zone change for distillery project

Published 9:41 am Wednesday, December 13, 2017

In cooperation with the Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation, the Danville City Commission has begun the process of quickly approving a zone change for property on Lebanon Road that could become a distillery.

At its regular meeting Monday night, the city commission heard from Steve Hunter, director of P&Z, who presented information gathered during last week’s public hearing concerning about 142 acres located at 4300 Lebanon Road. The property is owned by the Boyle County Industrial Foundation, which is requesting to quickly rezone it from AR-1 (agricultural and residential uses) to Industrial Business Development District (IBD) for the potential distillery project.

Because of the push to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible, P&Z held a special called meeting yesterday morning to finalize its meeting minutes from the hearing, allowing the city commission to take action on the recommendation.

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Hunter said, the property’s “proposed use is for a distillery potentially coming to our community.”

On the city commission’s agenda, two separate items concerned the property: a zone change approval from P&Z for 4300 Lebanon Road; and first reading of the ordinance that would set the change into law.

“We’re kind of morphing these two together,” City Attorney Steven Dexter, said. “Our normal chain of events would be for the planning commission to make their recommendation and give you a tentative affirmance of the recommendation. And then I would present an ordinance in accordance with that.

“However, in light of the proposed economic development project and the request for which speed was a need, the planning commission, to accommodate that request, had a second meeting today, special called, to approve their minutes and finalize their record with an expectation you may wish to proceed tonight in order to aid that economic development project.”

During his report later in the meeting, City Manager Ron Scott suggested that since the city commission won’t meet again until January, it could call a special meeting sooner just for second reading of the zone change ordinance.

Dexter said, “And if we’re the last hurdle in that project for it to be done and be effective, we’d like to get it done.”

Following a short discussion, city council set the special meeting for 9 a.m. Friday, Dec. 15, at city hall.

The Industrial Foundation included a conceptual map of the yet-to-be-named distillery grounds with its zone-change application, which shows a “presentation center and office” with parking spaces at the entrance off of Lebanon Road. Behind that, there would be a “distillery” with its own parking lot and 17 “rickhouses,” warehouses that are used to store barrels of alcoholic drinks as they age. The map also notes an “access road to Wilderness Trail Distillery” as part of the plan.

Hunter said last week that the plan is expected to occur in two phases: The first phase would involve building the presentation center and three rickhouses on the front portion of the property; the second phase would be a much larger project to construct the distillery building and the other 14 rickhouses.