Portion of future distillery site recommended for annexation

Published 10:27 pm Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Troy Planning Commission voted unanimously Thursday evening to recommend the annexation into the city a portion of property set to be the future site of Conecuh Ridge Distillery.

The meeting served as a public hearing on the annexation, but no member of the public was present to object or support the matter.

A representative of the Beard family came before the commission to make the request to annex 13.45 acres of the family’s property into the city, where it would become automatically zoned as reserved residential.

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The portion of the property is located at 530 Trojan Way contiguous to the current corporate limits of the City of Troy.

The move is the first in a series of steps that had to be taken in order for the project agreement between Troy and the distillery to be completed.

City officials approved the agreement in September 2017 to purchase the 76-acre site for the company for $1.6 million, in addition to other things of value. However, these 13.45 acres of the site are not yet in the city and therefore not yet subjected to zoning.

The planning commission took just 60 seconds to unanimously recommend annexing the portion of the property.

Melissa Sanders, planning and zoning administrator, said the recommendation will be presented to the council as early as their June 12 meeting for a first reading.

Once the property is annexed into the city, it will still need to be rezoned in order for the distillery to begin work on the site.

City officials have not said at which point they will purchase the land, but the council has already taken action to put the financing in place.

The property will likely be requested to be rezoned as tourism development district, a new zoning category created since the distillery project agreement was approved that specifically includes language that would fit the specifications of the planned facility.

The district creates a zone for specific large-scale sites that serve a variety of tourism purposes, while holding them to many restrictions in line with residential zoning as opposed to typical industrial or commercial standards.

Sanders could not offer a timeline on when the rezoning request might come before the commission.

The company has six months of due diligence, which began in January, before they are required to break ground on the site according to the project agreement.

The company must invest $13.5 million initially into the local economy and hire at least 30 to 50 people.