After months of heated debate about the Bellevinez Winery, the Clifton Town Board voted Tuesday night, July 2, to recommend to Pierce County a conditional use permit for the winery -- minus the proposed restaurant.

The Town Board based its recommendation for the winery and vineyard on the recommendation from the town’s Planning Commission.

After review by the Planning Commission, board supervisors agreed to approve the winery, located at W10887 875th Ave., without any menu.

The Planning Commission agreed Shannon and Angel Zimmerman can retail and sell the wine they produce.

The Zimmermans want to have a restaurant onsite that would serve a “light menu,” consisting of wood-fired pizzas, pastas and other food to go with the wine.

The Planning Commission decided the proposed limited menu and restaurant were not clearly defined, were problematic and a case of spot zoning, which is not allowed under the Clifton’s Comprehensive Plan.

For a restaurant to be allowed, the business would have to be zoned commercial.

The recommendation also would not allow food to be brought in or catered, or food to be prepared onsite that would require a license.

Pierce County officials will have the final say and address the issue at a public hearing in the next few weeks.

The Zimmermans’ neighbors have been vocal in their opposition to the winery, especially the commercial restaurant. Close to 100 people signed a petition against the business.

In the town of River Falls Monday night, July 1, the Town Board passed a nonmetallic mining law.

The new law covers environment concerns related to the frac-sand mining boom that is revolutionizing the nation’s gas and oil industry.

River Falls Town Board Supervisor Tom Sitz voted against the new law saying it was too restrictive: “We’re making an ordinance against sand and anything else.”

Countered Town Board Supervisor Brad Mogen: “The density of citizens we have in an area like this requires we have very stringent regulations.”

For the complete stories covering the towns of Clifton and River Falls, please see the July 11 print edition of the River Falls Journal.