Local businessman Scott High addressed last Monday night’s meeting of the Palisade Planning Commission to request the vacation of a publicly held right-of-way at the property just east of the iconic Mountain Lion Fruit Company building at 244 W. Third Street, just south of the railroad tracks in downtown Palisade. High, a local winemaker, peach grower, owner of High Country Orchards and Colterris Winery, is also a collector of all types of winemaking memorabilia. Since he has been an active collector since his teenage years, High has amassed quite a collection of wine bottles, corkscrews, tastevins, letters and other business papers regarding the history of winemaking and is anxious to share his collections with the world of wine lovers.

High’s plan is to renovate the old Mountain Lion Fruit Company building into a Tasting Room and Wine Bar with an outdoor courtyard and wine garden to the east side of the building in front of the three arches. Due to the age of the property, the current building was built right up to the eastern property line, so in order to provide an entrance with the required landscaping, the vacation of the town’s right-of-way has been requested. In addition to the original building, High plans to construct an additional wing to the west of the current building to house a world-class museum of winemaking and memorabilia. There are also plans to offer a limited menu from a small kitchen to be built behind the Wine Bar.

The question before the planning commission was whether the town’s relinquishing of the right-of-way to the east of the property at 244 W. Third Street was in the best interest of the town, mainly in terms of economic development. Although the right-of-way is actually about 60 feet wide, the town would retain the easternmost 10 feet of the right-of-way as an easement in case a public sidewalk should ever be needed in front of the new courtyard. There is also a water line under the right-of-way that would be accessible from the town’s easement.

Planning Commissioners voted unanimously to grant the vacation of right-of-way as requested.

Attending the meeting on Monday, March 3 were Planning Commissioners Riley Parker, Charlotte Wheeler, Penny Prinster, Stan Harbaugh and Vice Chair Betsy McLaughlin. Also present were Town Administrator Janet Hawkinson, Community Development Director Allyson Shellhorn and Planning Assistant Lydia Reynolds.

The next meeting of the Planning Commission is scheduled for Tuesday, March 17 at 6:00 p.m. in the public meeting room of the Civic Center at 341 W. Seventh Street. Meetings are open to the public and citizens are encouraged to attend.