County OKs permit for winery to build events facility

A Palisade winery can build a 2,100-square-foot facility for weddings and other private events on its 18-acre agricultural operation under a conditional-use permit approved Tuesday by the Mesa County Commission.

Commissioners unanimously authorized the permit for Canyon Wind Cellars, 3907 N. River Road, which allows the winery to build 70 additional parking spaces and a facility that will hold up to 120 people.

Canyon Wind Cellars General Manager Jay Christianson said several people have approached the winery since it opened in 1996, encouraging it to host private events.

He said he and his fianc&233;e were looking for a place to get married last year in the Grand Valley and found that places that were available were few and expensive. That experience, coupled with the county’s recent decision to allow owners of agriculturally zoned land to host social events on their property, prompted Canyon Wind Cellars to apply for the permit.

Christianson said he hopes to open the facility in the summer of 2011.

The winery is the first to take advantage of a land-use code change approved by the commissioners in December. The change allows owners of properties zoned “agricultural forestry transitional” and “agricultural forestry” to have weddings, wine tastings, business retreats and other events on their land.

Kokopelli Farms owner Brant Harrison told commissioners he supports new construction at the winery.

“Anytime we can do something to bring people out to the farm and help them understand agriculture is actually going to help keep the agriculture in the area,” he said.


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