YORKTOWN, N.Y. – A long sought after rezoning of The Winery at St. George in Mohegan Lake was unanimously approved Tuesday night by the Yorktown Town Board.
The change from R-120 (half-acre, single-family residential) to a transitional zone will allow owner Thomas DeChiaro to operate a restaurant at the historic church building without having to apply every three years for a special permit.
"I think everyone agrees that church is a magnificent structure. We want to see that preserved," said Supervisor Michael Grace. "In order to see that done it has to be a viable use."
Generating the most discussion was a corresponding authority for a 12-space paved parking lot that will be owned by the town but maintained by DeChiaro. Some concerns were raised about the parking lot extending into the buffer of wetlands behind the winery.
"This is the first time I have ever heard of improving a wetland by paving it over," said resident Paul Moskowitz. "It doesn't sound right to me and I don't think you should do it."
Grace responded by saying encroaching on the wetlands buffer is "done absolutely routinely."
The Yorktown Parks Commission stated in a letter to the town board it would like to adopt a wetlands program to help care for the town's natural resources, starting with the wetlands behind the winery that feeds into Mohegan Lake.
"This is a perfect example of a private public partnership that we should encourage in the town," DeChiaro said.