On Aug. 18, Tom Gossett, the owner of Gossett Brothers Nursery on Route 35 in South Salem, and John Vuolo, the owner of South Salem Winery, returned to the Lewisboro Planning Board after multiple appearances in 2018 and 2019. This time, their goal was to obtain approval of their site development plan
The businesses previously came before the town board, zoning board of appeals and planning board to seek approval of a proposed amendment to the town code to allow accessory wineries as a permitted special use in residential zones. During a town board meeting in November 2018, the board voted in favor of the resolution, which amended the town code on the condition of comments from the planning board.
Planning Board Secretary Ciorsdan Conran confirmed after Tuesday night’s meeting that the proposal was adopted. She said Gossett Brothers Nursery now has submitted a site development plans for South Salem Winery, which has already been a functioning business at the nursery.
Ms. Conran added that site plan approval is a matter for the planning board, even though Gossett Brothers Nursery has been in business for decades. Tuesday’s meeting was the first step in this process, and Ms. Conran said she expects this issue will continue to appear on the board’s agenda.
Timothy Cronin, president of Cronin Engineering, presented on behalf of Gossett Brothers Nursery. Mr. Cronin said they are not proposing any changes to the property other than the addition of a septic system holding tank. In addition, Town Planner and Wetland consultant, Jan Johannessen, advised Mr. Gossett in a private meeting on Aug. 13, that they need to add handicapped parking. In addition, Mr. Cronin also noted the winery needs approval of its proposed water treatment system from Westchester County Department of Health. The system will be located in the nursery.
Planning Board Chair Janet Andersen said Mr. Johannessen also advised her that the water treatment system plan needs to be referred to the town building inspector and Westchester County Planning Department. Through consensus, the planning board agreed to those referrals. Planning Board member Richard Sklarin moved for the planning board to be lead agency on this issue, which the board voted in favor of unanimously.
Planning Board member Jerome Kerner suggested the nursery presents business plans to the board. Mr. Kerner said if the winery hours of operation differ from the nursery, then additional parking may not be necessary.
Given the board members’ familiarity with the site, they determined that a site walk is not necessary.
Gossett Brothers Nursery must now receive a special use permit for the winery operations from the zoning board of appeals.
The winery site development plan is expected to appear on the agenda again at the planning board’s Sept. 15 meeting. Actions will include confirming the board’s lead agency role on the project and discussion of new information, including possibly the winery’s business plan.