Residents oppose planned winery
BENTONVILLE — Several people voiced their opposition to a winery tasting room being in their community.
The opponents to the project spoke out at public hearing Wednesday during the Benton County Planning Board meeting.
According to Thomas Oppenheim and Derek Hileman with CEI Engineering, the business will be a 3,500-squarefoot restaurant and a winery operation producing wines on site from fruit juices from other locations.
According to information submitted, the business is planned for 3.74 acres at 8497 and 8499 Larue Road, which is east of Rogers and accessed from Arkansas 12 and Arkansas 303. The plans for the restaurant show seating for 20 and call for no more than two employees at any time.
A single-family home will also be on the site.
Oppenheim told the planners a business — a saw mill — is on property adjacent to the proposed winery and restaurant.
Jerri Eaton, who lives at 9220 Larkin Lane said she was concerned about water use and the possible drop in water pressure due from the winery and restaurant. The lack of water pressure could hamper the fire department in fighting a fire, Eaton said.
“Welcome to the neighborhood,” Eaton said. “We don’t want your winery.”
Jim Collier, who lives in the area, said he was concerned about the roads and water. Collier said Larue Road is poorly maintained.
Collier said a part-time lumber operation is adjacent to the proposed site. “It’s 100 percent residential,” Collier said of the area.
Collier said the business may be a good idea, but he believes it’s incompatible with the area.
David Conner, who lives at 8452 LaRue Road, and Harris White, who lives at 19573 Hebron Lane, also objected to the project. Both were concerned the road wouldn’t support the traffic to the winery.
A few other people also spoke out against the project.
Donald Dick, the property owner, said water wouldn’t be an issue. Dick said they are using concentrates and not grapes so water use will not be impacted.
Dick described the business as tasting room for wine, along with food pairing with the wine. There will be 20 seats and people need reservations, Dick said.
The county planners discussed noise, water and traffic issues before voting to approve Dick’s application.
Wayne Eaton said after the meeting he wants to make sure the business is safe and doesn’t change the nature of the area. Eaton said he’s not against the project because it’s a winery. “I like wine,” he said.
Dick said plans to invite his neighbors over to the business in order for them to get to know each other.
His wife, Pamela, said they wanted their business in the area for the quiet atmosphere.
Residents speak Wednesday against a proposed winery on Larue Road during a public hearing at the Benton County Planning Board’s meeting in Bentonville.