ORANGE, Conn. (WTNH)-- Folks in a quiet community are suddenly making some noise over plans to plant a vineyard and produce wine along route 34.
They say they were caught off guard when new plans suddenly showed a 15,000 square foot building in the middle of the fields.
The developer is promoting this as Agri-tourism. Grapes grown and turned into wine on site, but neighbors say because of the size, it's already got a sour taste.
The property has been cleared, trees cut. Neighbors didn't protest, believing it was part of the owner's plan to plant grapes cultivate vineyard.
"Last year there was a promise of a vineyard which sounded nice," said Bruce Lindsay, Orange.
The property has a quiet past, once the site of the US headquarters for the Legionnaires of Christ.
So word of a vineyard, while not welcome, didn't seem worth "wining about "
But attitudes changed when these preliminary plans showed up at Orange Town Hall
The drafts showing a new building, a 256 seat banquet hall and catering facility named Windmill Winery.
"These types of activities mid day to midnight, again it's a quiet neighborhood and we'd like to keep it that way," said Lindsay.
Turns out the developer wanting to build there is the Landino family, which owns and operates Cascades, a banquet and wedding facility in Hamden.
But telling News 8 the plan for Orange is strictly a vineyard with tasting room and wine cellar.
In a statement saying: "A new building is necessary because of the state of the art winery which will be housed in the basement...The grapes harvested will produce the wine on premise...quite a bit of space is needed for this."
No formal application has been submitted, these plans are all preliminary and no public hearings are even scheduled on this project.
Bruce Lindsay and his neighbors aren't waiting for it to be official, letting town officials know they're opposed to the larger scale proposal.
"We're nervous that if one spot zoning occurs, we could see a domino effect. It doesn't bode well for our property values, it doesn't bode well for the traffic situation and the community as a whole," said Lindsay.
The Landino family says the plan is to plant the grapes next spring and hopefully harvest and produce wine some three years later.
But all of it hinges on the town's allowing a zone change.
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