CEDAR HILL – The Cedar Hill City Council unanimously passed a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) at a council meeting earlier this week with no renewal agreements meaning Saviana Winery will be able to stay open.
The CUP had originally gone in front of the Planning & Zoning Commission last week and as Saviana Winery Julie Denton said “I thought it would be a rubber stamp since we haven’t violated a single line item from that restrictive CUP.”
Denton said the winery has never received a ticket or even a warning from the police regarding noise or any other issue. She added the business has “Always monitored ourselves so we abide by the restrictive Conditional Use Permit issued by the city.”
Denton also mentioned that her business is the only one in town “that inherited restrictions from the previous unrelated occupants because of their violations. We are the only business that had a two-year renewal requirement on them.”
Before Tuesday’s vote, Denton said she didn’t know how it would turn out. She explained that due to the P & Z “no” vote it would require a super-majority vote from council to pass the Conditional Use Permit. That supermajority had to be five of seven versus the simple majority of four of seven to keep the doors open.
Denton said the P & Z Commission had voted not to approve the CUP because they used unsubstantiated claims from a neighbor across the street who she said, “has run the last two businesses out of this location, using calls to the police to harass anyone at this address.”
The owner and winemaker of Saviana said she was aware there was a very real possibility that if two people on the council were not convinced to vote yes, the doors would be closed and it would be the end of a business “She has put her heart and soul into since opening.”
However, Denton went into marketing mode after the P & Z denial, and it worked. She let customers and residents know the business was in danger of being shut down and that during the two-plus years, they were opened they had never received a complaint.
“This vote could have revoked our ability to continue,” Denton said. “We purchased the building so over the last week my husband and I were working on backup plans for the property if we could no longer operate our business. It was very stressful.”
The marketing campaign to keep the winery open worked with 46 letters in favor of the business, which were sent to the city council. There was also a council chamber full of citizens who wanted their voices to be heard on the matter Tuesday night as well. Only two people spoke in opposition, a father and son, and their main reason for opposition were noise levels, principally during Karaoke.
Some council members said they had sat outside Saviana on a few occasions and the noise from the passing street was often louder than that coming from Saviana. Decibel measurements have not shown excessive noise levels from the winery in tests run as well.
“The outpouring of support from our supporters was incredibly heartwarming,” Denton concluded. “We are able to open our doors today because those citizens chose to address what was happening in our town at the small government level. Cedar Hill showed out and proved to the world that they support us made a point to stand in the way of a potentially unfair vote against our small business.”
If you’d like to check out Saviana winery and support a small business, check them out online for more details. Saviana is a prior winner in Focus Daily News Readers Choice contests, where readers vote for their favorite businesses.