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Augusta Winery's new site across from church proves controversial

11:34 PM, Apr 14, 2011   |    comments
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  • Tony Kooyumjian
  • Proposal for the new Augusta Winery.
  • Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

By Ann Rubin

St. Charles County (KSDK) - Plans to move the existing Augusta Winery to a new spot across from a Catholic church have caused controversy in St. Charles County.

The winery owners need a conditional use permit to begin work on their new location. But some parishioners at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church don't want to see that happen. The winery would be moving in right across the street.

The owners, Tony and Cindy Kooyumjian saw it as an ideal place to expand and attract new customers along Highway 94, until they started hearing from prospective neighbors.

"My wife and I went out there and said this is perfect," said Tony Kooyumjian.

At a St. Charles County Council meeting this week, dozens of people came to speak about the winery's proposed location, some in favor, some opposed.

"When we bought the property we never would have anticipated this," said Cindy Kooyumjian.

They raised concerns about noise, traffic and even the possibility of intoxicated patrons.

The church council has not taken an official position and has made sure signs opposing the winery are kept off their grounds. However, they are meeting with the winery owners Monday to discuss potential problems.

"Our biggest issue is the safety issue with the entrance being directly across the street from us," said parish council member David Behlman. "We feel that it could be very disrespectful if there's music being played. That would be inappropriate."

"We have such respect, we would never have music during church hours," Cindy said.

The Kooyumjian's who happen to be parishioners themselves say they'll work hard to address any issues. They're hopeful their conditional use permit will be granted, and the winery and church can coexist.

"We're a family run business and we've never had a complaint," Tony said.

The St. Charles County Council is set to vote on the winery's conditional use permit at the next meeting on April 25. If it's granted, the owners would like to have the new location up and running by the summer of 2012.


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