Summary of Meeting With Whitehall Regarding Proposed Winery/Brewery

Dear Neighbors,

First of all, I want to thank those of you who were able to attend today’s informational meeting at Whitehall as well as the many folks who sent me their comments and questions.

This was a three-hour meeting so what follows is a simple summary of what transpired!

Throughout his presentation and Q&A, David, the host, emphasized the point that Whitehall has been around for 25 years as a wedding center and a good neighbor to the town, preserving open space where there could have been homes.  The downturn in the wedding business in general, and during the pandemic in particular, has forced them to diversify to stay afloat financially.

Main Topics:

Traffic Pattern
David suggested that the main entrance be the farm road off Snickersville Turnpike between Plaster’s Field and the Montessori School grounds.  Their sign is posted there now.  This road would be one-way leading to their parking area, and people would later continue on and exit right on the road fronting Rte.7 towards Leesburg.  It’s presumed that many of the cars leaving Bluemont Vineyard and Dirt Farm Brewery would be diverted from the choke-point on Clayton Hall Road when they visit Whitehall.

Of course, many citizens expressed safety concerns about the proposed entrance on Snickersville Turnpike, the Clayton Hall exit, and the Rte. 7 exit.

It was agreed by the owners to have VDOT do a traffic study and provide professional guidance.

Days & Hours of Operation

5/6 days a week, with possible Monday and Tuesday closure when not a holiday weekend.  11:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Noise
Live music would be inside the facility.  Possibly piped-in music on the porch.

Winery/Brewery
Whitehall has been producing grapes in their vineyard for wine-making for a number of years.  They will now be offering it to the public.  The vineyards may be expanded to other fields if demand warrants it.  They plan to plant in the Spring hops for beer brewing.  They have set aside kitchen space for making both wine and beer on the premises.

Well & Septic

Their present well and septic was built to accommodate large wedding parties.  More information needs to be gathered on this subject to assure they can serve much larger numbers of guests and produce wine and beer in quantity.

Parking

Appears adequate, at least to begin with.

Occupancy Level

This has to still be determined.  They’re considering an online registration system to monitor attendance.

Whitehall’s Overall Vision

David expressed that he would like Celebrations to be an upscale destination for guests.  They already have a full-scale kitchen that serves meals – the snacks and small entrees they would serve would be high quality dishes, not pizza or the usual bar offerings.  They want to make it very appealing to an older demographic who would appreciate higher standards in a comfortable environment.  

What’s Next?

Obviously, I’ve distilled 3 hours into a few paragraphs.  There was a lot of discussion.  David was very patient and tried to answer every question that was posed to him.  I believe it was a wake-up call of sorts to both David and Doug that they will need to partner with the community if this is going to be a successful transition.  I personally believe they want to do the right thing for the community and have heard us.

They agreed to work with a Bluemont Advisory Committee, hold regular meetings with us, and get our input on important decisions that will impact the surrounding area.

Anyone who wishes to be considered a part of this committee can contact me at president@bluemontvillage.org.  Spaces are limited.

I believe we can bring about a successful outcome.  It won’t be perfect.  But I believe we can create a model of cooperation that could set the standard for future projects like this throughout the County.

Feel free to ask questions…we may have available in a few days an audio recording of the meeting to share.

Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!

Peter Weeks
President, Bluemont Citizens Association
Board Member, Snickersville Turnpike Association 
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