Ham Lake considers rule change allowing special events at farm wineries

The Ham Lake City Council has given first reading to an ordinance allowing large assemblies and other special events as part of farm winery operations.

This proposed ordinance will give the council the power to approve a conditional use permit (CUP) for such gatherings with limits on such things as the number of people, parking and noise.

The amendment comes after a request in early March from James Szurek, owner of Willow Tree Vineyard and Winery located on Constance Boulevard, for a large assembly permit for a wedding planned at the winery in August.

At that meeting, the council agreed that an ordinance amendment allowing for a CUP would be a better option and directed the city attorney to draft one.

With council holding the first reading of the ordinance April 1, it will now move to the planning commission where a public hearing will be held before coming back before council for final approval.

“It will take a while to get this formally adopted, but it’s well on the way,” said City Attorney Wilbur Dorn.

Kelly Johnson is at [email protected]