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A custom crush winery offering crushing, fermentation, barrel aging and bottling got the green light from the St. Helena Planning Commission on Tuesday.

St. Helena Custom Crush will add 9,500 square feet onto the existing 111,000-square-foot Napa Valley Wine Warehouse at the corner of Dowdell Lane and La Fata Street, which currently offers only wine storage.

“This is a very important opportunity for this community to strengthen its relationship to local wine producers,” Commissioner Lester Hardy said.

The facility will be allowed to produce 120,000 gallons by fermentation and 119,000 gallons bottled. The applicants had asked for the ability to produce 120,000 gallons, which they called the equivalent of 50,000 cases, but Hardy suggested adding the two different limits to account for any wine that is lost during the winemaking process and to avoid any ambiguity.

The commission approved the winery by a 3-2 vote, with Commissioners John Ponte and Bobbi Monnette voting against it.

Ponte didn’t object to the facility itself, but said a five-foot safety fence surrounding a new stormwater detention basin at the corner of Dowdell and La Fata should have required a variance, since it exceeds the city’s maximum height limit of 3.5 feet for fences within the front setback in the Industrial zone.

Monnette objected to potential noise from truck traffic, disagreeing with an environmental report that determined the noise impact to nearby properties would be “less than significant.”

Ottoman Art expanding

In other action, the commission approved a use permit allowing the sale of home furnishings at 1226 Main St., the former location of Mirabelle.

Ibrahim Agirman, who operates Ottoman Art next door, will expand his business into the adjacent space.

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St. Helena Reporter

Jesse has been a reporter for the St. Helena Star since 2006.