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Posted at 4:28 PM ET, 05/13/2010

Howard Co. wants to be winery- friendly

By Washington Post editors

Napa Valley East?

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced Thursday that he will introduce an amendment to current zoning regulations that would make it easier for property owners to grow grapes and open wineries in the county.

Of the 30 wineries participating in the County's annual "Wine in the Woods" festival this weekend, none hail from Howard, Ulman noted.

"When we looked at our current regulations, we discovered that our zoning is much more restrictive regarding wineries than anywhere else in the state,'' he said. "Today I’m happy to announce plans to make Howard County more winery-friendly.”

Ulman said the proposed new regulations would allow for two classes of wineries that operate at different scales and with different levels of restrictions to ensure compatibility with the rural character of western Howard County.

Class 1 wineries would be allowed as an “accessory use” on a farm of at least 10 acres; this would allow for on-site wine making, tasting and sales, as well as winery tours and educational programs for individuals and small groups. The number of visitors would depend on the size of the farm. Class 1 wineries may also be permitted as a “conditional use” by the Hearing Examiner for smaller farms in the Rural Conservation (RC) zoning district with certain additional restrictions.

Class 2 wineries on farms of at least 25 acres may be permitted as a “conditional use” by the Hearing Examiner. A Class 2 winery could also be allowed to have a limited number of special events each year for a larger number of visitors, depending on the size of the farm.

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By Washington Post editors  | May 13, 2010; 4:28 PM ET
Categories:  Maryland  | Tags:  Drink, Grape, United States, Wine, Winery  
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