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Eagle foothills homeowners against proposed event venue

Neighbors afraid of dangerous road conditions from drunk driving
Posted at 4:47 AM, Jun 11, 2024

EAGLE, Idaho — One vineyard in Eagle is receiving backlash from neighbors over a proposal to become an event venue.

  • Bruneel Vineyard in Eagle is open to hosting small events.
  • Neighbors are worried about an increase in noise and light in their area.
  • They also believe that there will be more drunk drivers on the road exploring other wineries.
  • The winery owner does not want to have loud music or go against his neighbors.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

An Eagle vineyard wants to use its space to host events, but neighbors don't like the idea. I sat down with homeowners who hope the city will say 'no' to the request and the business owner who hopes to grow their offerings beyond grapes.

"Somebody is asking for a problem, and it will happen sooner or later," said neighbor Bret Garrigan.

In the Eagle foothills, homeowners are concerned over a winery bringing in more traffic to their small quiet area.

"We all moved to this area because of how quiet it is because it is the way that it is because the houses are all spread out. Once you get up past Beacon Light, everything just slows down," said neighbor Patrick Declusin.

Declusin is a father of three. His home is only about 30-feet away from the edge of Bruneel Winery. He says if it becomes more commercial, he is afraid of the road conditions for his children.

"When they ride a bike, they ride up and down Homer. I don't want my kids riding up and down Homer when there's people that have been drinking, that are driving on it," said Declusin.

"There's going to be three wineries that are on this road, so that just means that people are going to be coming and going back and forth. Thats what you do on a wine tour right? You don't just go to one, they go to multiple," he continued.

A few other neighbors are worried about the speed of the cars on the small road.

"It's not a straight road, it's a curvy one," said Bob Nahas.

Garrigan added, "We have had two near fatalities on that canal bank where the road curves, no street lights, and it is just dangerous."

So I took a trip over to the winery, to talk with Steve Bruneel about these concerns, who agreed that driving speed needs to be addressed, even saying he would be willing to pay for speed limit signs.

Bruneel said, "Even speed bumps on this blind turn here. Because you come up over a rise here, it would just be good to have traffic crawling along right there."

He went on to say that ACHD told him the road was okay for the amount of traffic expected to be there. To address drunk driving, he explained that Uber can very easily reach his home and folks are more than welcome to leave their vehicles behind if needed. However, traffic is not the only concern for the neighbors.

Aric Needham explained, "With a DJ out there or concerts. They say they want concerts. Concerts till 10 pm. This is a dark skies area, so the light noise."

Declusin added, "Large events throughout the year, I don't think that we can."

"I think people are thinking that this is going to turn into this rager and to even say that is ridiculous. Wineries are kinda boring," said Bruneel.

Bruneel explained that rowdy is not his cup of wine.

"DJ's, no. Thats a hard no from me. Loud amplified music, no. Thats a hard no from me. I don’t want that. If you want to have a wild rowdy time, go to a bar. A winery is not your scene. It's not the scene we want. We want nothing to do with that. The last thing I want to do is be a bother to my neighbors. I would way rather shut down somebody’s grandiose plans of a wedding and say no to it than to be obnoxious to my neighbors," said Bruneel emphatically.

The permit will be discussed at Tuesday night's city council meeting. Public comment will be taken.