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Orchard asks to become farm winery

September 5, 2018

Some new, locally made libations may be added to the Fort Wayne area’s repertoire if the Allen County Board of Zoning Appeals grants applications for a property in Marion Township.

Craft breweries and distilleries are proliferating around the area. Now, Ambrosia Orchard LLC, 14025 S. U.S. 27, has requested to be allowed to operate as a farm winery, growing apples and making cider, mead and apple wines on-site.

Although the location already is zoned for agricultural use, the proposed activities require a special use. 

The business also will have a tasting room and sell bottles and products, including “other wines,” at the location, which has a Hoagland address.

Representing Ambrosia Orchards LLC on the application is Edison Bender of Fort Wayne who describes himself as a member of Ambrosia.

He did not immediately return a call seeking more information Tuesday afternoon.

The application calls the winery an agritourism initiative that will also provide “a place for the community to gather on the south side of Allen County.”

The orchard of more than 400 trees “will provide beauty to the property,” and “the winery and market will be a place for locals to purchase wine, fruit and other goods ... contributing to the local economy.”

The application requests a waiver of development standards so the orchard be able to use a gravel parking lot instead of one with a hard surface.

The reasons, the application says, are expense and the presence of a concrete driveway apron and a concrete parking pad to accommodate handicapped customers.

The business has a health department-approved septic system and will operate in a 3,000-square-foot pole-barn type of structure already on the property, the application says.

If the requests are not granted, the business would move the winery outside the county and use the site, about a half-mile south of Flatrock Road, only for growing apples.

A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sept. 19 in Room 35 of Citizens Square.

rsalter@jg.net

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