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Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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Rezoning keeps Keel and Curley Winery, microbrewery on track

— A Plant City winery and craft beer microbrewery that had been the subject of neighborhood complaints received the rezoning Tuesday it needed to stay afloat.

Hillsborough County commissioners voted unanimously to grant Keel and Curley Winery, which also operates Two Henrys Brewing Company on its 27-acre property, a rezoning from agriculture to planned development, allowing for beer brewing and sales.

Some neighbors had objected to the noise at the establishment. They said it started as a blueberry farm with a winery and tasting room that evolved into a bar serving wine and beer by the glass. County inspectors said the business wasn’t zoned for beer sales and issued a citation.

If the vote had failed, the microbrewery wouldn’t have been allowed on the property at 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road, said Joe Keel, the president and CEO of the business.

“If the vote had gone the other way, we would have had to layoff half of our staff tomorrow,” Joe Keel said.

Keel and Curley Winery made some concessions. Outdoor events and outdoor music can only be held on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Outdoor music must cease at 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays and at 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The establishment can only hold four major events a year on its property, such as its Blueberry Festival.

The business also agreed to enhance a parking lot they lease across the street with fencing, landscaping and a crosswalk, said Clay Keel, son of Joe Keel and the production manager and head brewer.

Besides offering concessions, Keel and Curley Winery had worked hard to drum up support. The business spent more than $60,000 in attorney fees, engineering fees and traffic studies, Joe Keel said.

They got 10,000 supporters to sign petitions -- one electronic and the other handwritten. They also got 300 supporters to write letters to county commissioners, Clay Keel said.

“We had to work hard to get it,” Clay Keel said. “It was exciting to see everyone that supported us.”

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Twitter: @jpatinoTBO

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