The first hurdle toward turning the former Terrapin Station Winery into a venue for weddings, corporate events and other gatherings has been cleared by the property’s new owner.
Earlier this week Rick Biddle settled on the 44-acre property at 80 Rickett’s Mill Road north of Elkton and then attended the Cecil County Planning Commission meeting.
The Planning Commission approved a special exception for the property for an initial three-year period and the requirement that the owner submit a site plan.
Several nearby residents came out to question the size of the proposed event venue, parking, water, traffic and other details.
Biddle was represented by Ronnie Carpenter.
During the discussion before the Planning Commission, the project was described as being planned to handle up to 250 people. Lighting at the property would include screened LED fixtures and an application will be made to the State Highway Administration for a driveway off MD 213.
It was also noted that the building to be used for gatherings is 900 feet from adjoining properties, far exceeding the minimum of 200 feet required by county zoning regs. It was also mentioned that the venue would only use the equivalent of two residential housing units of water, while the property zoning could allow it to be developed for 44 or more homes. As for access points, Rickett’s Mill Road would qualify as an adequate access point, but the future business prefers to pursue direct MD 213 access.
The special exception approved by the Planning Commission is just one step in the approval process. Next week, the project will be reviewed by the Board of Zoning Appeals.
After the Planning Commission meeting, Biddle walked over to the neighboring property owners to assure them that he will not do anything to disturb the neighborhood.
“I do want to make it nice,” he told them.
Biddle owns the Tom Foolery’s restaurant in Middletown, Delaware. He told the “Cecil Guardian” that he will be renovating the barn at the old winery. While the lower level of the barn is in decent shape, he said the upper part of the barn will be replaced.
If all of the permits and development work goes as planned, Biddle said he hopes to open in April, 2018.
The Planning Commission agenda also included a request that the property be rezoned.That request was withdrawn prior to the meeting. It was reported that if the deal to sell the property had fallen through, now former owners Morris and Janet Zwick had been looking to zone the property for the installation of a solar farm.