Restaurant planned for large winery south of Oliver

 

The subject property (Phantom Winery and Vineyards) is approximately 24 ha in area and is located on the east side of Black Sage Road approximately 9 km south of the Town of Oliver and is seen to be comprised of a winery with the lands under agricultural production (i.e. viticulture). The surrounding pattern of development is generally characterised by similar agricultural lands in the ALR and under viticulture production.

In 2011, the ALC initiated a “Winery and Cidery Policy Review” to determine the appropriateness of allowing wineries to sell other alcoholic beverages in a “winery lounge”. The Commission “determined that the current regulatory regime for wineries located in the Agricultural Land Reserve is appropriate … [and] that wineries who seek to acquire a ‘food primary’ license from the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) in order to offer additional alcohol products for sale must
continue to submit a non-farm use application to the ALC.”

At its meeting of October 3, 2013, the Planning and Development (P&D) Committee of the Board resolved that staff be directed “to draft an amendment bylaw to the Okanagan Valley Electoral Area Zoning Bylaws in order to introduce a new definition of ‘winery’ to allow for the sale of other ‘made in BC’ alcoholic beverages.”

An updated definition of “winery” was implemented on July 20, 2017following the adoption of the “Update of Agricultural Zones and Regulations Amendment Bylaw Amendment Bylaw 2728” and reads as follows: … an establishment involved in the manufacture, packaging, storing and sales of grape and fruit based wines, including a wine bar, food & beverage lounge and an eating and drinking establishment [emphasis added]. An “eating and drinking establishment” is separately defined in the zoning bylaw as meaning “a development where prepared foods and beverages are offered for sale to the public for consumption within the premises or off the site and includes … licensed restaurants …”

Analysis:
In considering this proposal, Administration maintains many of its concerns regarding the approval of restaurants in the ALR. Namely, full-service restaurants potentially diminish the link between the agricultural operation and the retail outlet by allowing a restaurant to exist as an independent
commercial entity. Additional concerns include:
· the erosion of the agricultural land base due to larger structures and expanded parking;
· impacts of more people, traffic, noise and trespass on adjacent farm operations (i.e. neighbour complaints);
· complaints and conflicts with other types of agriculture that may not fit with the “winery aesthetic”;
· pressure for other, non-farm related amenities (i.e. meeting facilities, hotels, spas, etc…); and
· that such uses should be directed to the Town of Oliver as the commercial hub for the area.

Nevertheless, Administration also recognises that the Board previously directed that the definition of a “winery” be amended to facilitate the development of restaurants within the ALR – subject to ALC approval – and without the need for subsequent rezoning applications to the Regional District.

Administration also notes that the Electoral Area “C” OCP Bylaw does speak to encouraging “the agricultural sector’s improvement and expansion by pursuing supportive land use policies …”, and of “encouraging secondary ‘value added’ uses” (provided they are compatible and incidental). Finally, the OCP Bylaw speaks to “maximizing productive farm activity and minimizing areas of development by clustering buildings, structures and related activities” and, in this instance, the
applicant is proposing to cluster the restaurant within the winery building already under construction.

For these reasons, Administration is recommending that this proposal be “authorised” to proceed to
the ALC for its review.

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