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Council to consider rezoning for Conecuh Ridge Distillery Tuesday

The Troy City Council will consider an ordinance Tuesday to rezone a 76-acre property that is planned to be the site of the Conecuh Ridge Distillery, producer of Clyde May’s Whiskey.

The council held its first reading of the ordinance at its last meeting, and due to council rules, no action was taken so that the council has time to consider the ordinance before making a vote.

The ordinance would rezone the property from residential zoning to Tourism Development District, a new zone created to support mixed-use developments on properties larger than 50 acres. The zone dictates that entities within a tourism development meet at least three of the acceptable uses listed.

The rezoning has long been on the to-do list of items needed to continue moving the project forward. Troy and Conecuh Ridge came to terms in September 2017 to locate the distillery in Troy, with plans to develop the site not just commercially, but for tourism purposes.

Within the project agreement, several steps were required to prepare the property for the distillery.

14 acres of the property first had to be annexed into the city, as the portion would be otherwise unable to be zoned since it would be outside the city’s jurisdiction. The city also had to purchase the property, as the city offered the land to the distillery for free as part of an incentives package to locate in Troy.

Phase one of the distillery would include the 8,000 square-foot “big house,” which would include a retail area and a bar; a 9,300 square-foot distillery and still house; a 7,300 square-foot service house; and a 15,000 square-foot rickhouse.

The distillery would only be accessible from Trojan Way, with a gravel drive leading to a gravel parking lot for 240 vehicles.

Perimeter trees would be planted, or current trees kept, to obscure the site from residential view and an apple orchard will be planted to screen the parking area from view from Orion Street.

Phase two of the site development would include the construction of six guest cottages, a “moonshine with Clyde experience,” a walking trail around the site, a distillery and still house expansion, a museum, a restaurant, another rickhouse and an amphitheater.

The city offered more than $1.7 million in incentives to the company to locate in Troy, in exchange for a $13.5 million initial capital investment and employing 50 people at an average annual salary of $54,000.

There have been delays in the original timeline for Conecuh Ridge to begin construction, partially because of the company’s purchase of the “second oldest distillery in Ireland” according to Council President Marcus Paramore. Paramore said there were other delays that he could not yet discuss, but that could benefit the company and result in even more jobs than expected at the new facility.