Making way for agritourism business in Windsor

Published 4:23 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2023

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The Windsor Town Council voted during its June 13 meeting to rezone vacant and undeveloped property on the south and north sides of Windsor Boulevard near the U.S. 258/U.S. 460 intersection to help make way for a prospective client interested in starting an agritourism business there.

The rezoning changed the zoning classification of the property from C-B-1, Conditional General Business, to B-1, General Business.

A Windsor planning and zoning report noted that the purpose of this change was to remove the proffers, or conditional zoning, associated with the parcels in question.

The property includes 19 parcels — 54B-04-1 through 54B-04-19 — on the south side of Windsor Boulevard — a 5.144-acre stretch.

“The property essentially goes right up to the Dairy Queen property,” Councilman Jake Redd said.

Included with the property in question on the north side of Windsor Boulevard are three parcels — 54B-04-21 through 54B-04-23. This is a 2.845-acre piece of land.

The conditional zoning that had applied to all 22 parcels until the council’s June 13 vote was a vestige of a previous vision for the space.

Redd said the proffers were “mainly to do with the street lights and specifics on parking spaces and things like that for when the (property’s) intended use was, I believe, a fast food restaurant and a shopping center beside it. So they had looked at that old plan the engineers drew up 20 years ago, at this point. Those proffers were probably going to have to be removed for almost any use unless it was going back to being a shopping center there.”

The property is currently owned by the Windsor Economic Development Authority, of which Redd is a member, but as a Windsor planning and zoning report states, the EDA is “discussing with a prospective client a plan to develop a potential business with an emphasis on agriculture and agricultural products.”

“We are under contract right now and just in the due diligence period,” Redd said.

Though he was not yet able to publicly reveal the name of the prospective client, he shared some details about the group and its vision for the property.

“The group itself owns a winery and a pear orchard,” he said. “They essentially want to have a roadside market.” 

He said the prospective client’s plan for the property presents a business that “has a farmer’s market, fruit stand-type of vibe but also sells other products as well and maybe will continue to expand if things go well.”

Redd explained that the group is planning to use the property on the south side of Windsor Boulevard for the whole business, but he noted that this 5.144-acre piece of land and the three parcels on the north side of the road had always been marketed together, and the group has a plan for the 2.845-acre piece as well.

“My understanding right now in the initial plans that they’ve put together, their intended use is to basically make both sides of the street look nice, so they want to make that (north) side look nice as well in terms of maybe putting a little vineyard out there or something along the road for the looks,” Redd said. “But they’ll probably have a storage barn or a storage building on that side and maybe keep some equipment to keep up with everything and lawnmowers and that sort of stuff on the smaller piece across the street.”

He said he did not have an estimate of when the business could be operational, as a variety of variables are still in play, but he was able to offer a loose timetable in connection with a potential closing date.

“We’re hopefully looking to be able to close in the next six weeks,” he said. “After closing, it shouldn’t be more than a year.”

The council’s vote to rezone the property was 5-0, with Redd abstaining due to being on the EDA.