With unanimous approval, the Monroe County Board officially passed an ordinance to rezone the proposed site of Stumpy’s Spirits & Distillery’s expansion.
This action rezoned 125.19 acres between Columbia and Waterloo from A-2 agricultural into a B-2 highway district.
Distillery owners Adam and Laura Stumpf plan to construct several lakes, a rickhouse and a 25,000-square-foot multi-purpose venue on the property. The couple previously noted it hopes to build additional rickhouses as production capacity expands.
As the Stumpfs’ faces showed, with Laura about to shed some happy tears, they could not be more pleased with Monday’s outcome.
“We are so incredibly appreciative for all of the people that took time out of their schedules to come to the meeting; we appreciate all of those who have offered words of encouragement and advice along the way; and we appreciate Monroe County for giving us the opportunity to expand our business at home,” Adam said in an emailed statement.
As Adam’s statement alludes to, Stumpy’s supporters filled the gallery of the old courtroom Monday morning. Many attendees proudly sported Stumpy’s shirts, and a handful even spoke to commissioners.
A common sentiment echoed by supporters is that Stumpy’s is a great opportunity for Monroe County. In both their remarks, Waterloo’s Joshua Perschbacher and Jim Sykora, who is Stumpy’s director of sales, cited similar alcohol tourism successes.
“The industry is exploding right now and this is a great opportunity for our region to continue to be a part of this wave,” Perschbacher said.
Tammy Rahn, who owns Stubborn German Brewing Co. with her husband Chris, said Stumpy’s success at its newly approved location will transfer to other local businesses.
“We also travel to Kentucky a few times a year to visit the distilleries down there. We spend lots of money there, not only at the distilleries themselves, but also in restaurants, in hotels for lodging (et cetera),” Rahn said. “So, if we have someone that’s willing to do that here locally, it will bring so many tourism dollars down here and it will really attract people to Monroe County. They can see how awesome this place is.”
Adam reiterated during his presentation following public comment that one of the expansion’s main goals is to support fellow businesses – whether this be through drawing people to the county or catering food through local vendors.
“We are excited to get this project off the ground and provide a destination that will hopefully draw tourists to Monroe County to support all of its wonderful businesses for years to come,” Adam’s statement read.
While Monday’s meeting was a change of pace from the previous Monroe County Zoning Board of Appeals meeting regarding a rezoning petition in that it did not see the majority of public commenters voicing concerns on the proposed development, father-son duo Chris and John Howell reiterated their concerns to the county board.
John brought up a common concern among county residents: the traffic.
“Anyone with common sense can see the traffic issues that Hanover Road and Route 3 present to each other,” John said.
The family also shared there are two active oil leases on the property in question, which the Howells take interest in.
Commissioner George Green asked the Stumpfs to address this concern.
Anthony Gilbrith of SGS Law, the Stumpfs’ attorney, said they are actively seeking a solution to this. He said there are some “language issues” in the leases they are working through.
“We are hopeful to have a beneficial solution for all parties involved in the leases,” Adam told the Republic-Times after the meeting.
As previously reported, the property includes the site of a proposed frontage road which was included in the Monroe County Comprehensive Plan. According to the plan, the road would connect to Midway Boulevard on the eastern part of the property and run north and south parallel to Route 3.
On Oct. 1, Adam signed a letter of intent acknowledging the county reserves the right to build the frontage road.
Under the letter, the Stumpfs are not obligated to pay for the road and would be eligible for compensation for the easement.
For previous coverage of Stumpy’s expansion, click here.
The current location of Stumpy’s is at 1727 Centerville Road in Columbia.