Village of Cambria Discussing Annexation

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By Amy Fox
By Benjy Jeffords

CAMBRIA -- For several months, leaders in Cambria have been looking at a plan to annex the Walker's Bluff winery. But they're getting pushback from people living nearby and those worried about bringing liquor sales to the community. 

It was a full house at Tuesday's meeting as people came out to voice their opinions about the possible annexation of Walker's Bluff. Village leaders are taking the feedback into consideration, as they develop a plan that works for the entire community.

Emotions were running high as people in Cambria spoke out at Tuesday's board meeting to answer one question.

Village of Cambria Police Commissioner Jim Manis said, "Are we interested in continuing a conversation with Walker's Bluff?"

The Walker's Bluff winery along Vermont Street straddles the Williamson-Jackson County line.  Since it opened several years ago, the business has held three county liquor licenses. But now, owner Cynde Bunch is suggesting annexation into Cambria to help the community she grew up in.

"We know that Walker's Bluff is existing," said Mains. "They have three liquor licenses. They are going to have three liquor licenses whether they stay in Jackson County or they come to Cambria. That's going to be a given."

For several months, Cambria's village board has discussed the idea of annexation. In July, members voted 3-2 to move forward on the plan.

Manis said, "We believe that tax revenue will be so supportive of the needs in our community that we should pursue."

But there's growing concern from residents and some council members that annexing Walker's Bluff would hurt neighbors in the area and open the doors for other liquor sales in Cambria.

A Cambria resident said, "I own property on both sides of Vermont and I don't see any benefit of mine to let it come through there."

While another resident said, "I'm not against progress, but someone's going to have to convince me on why it would be a benefit to me to annex."

Manis said, "Our plans are if the annexation works through and we have additional liquor licenses, there will be no bars, there will be no taverns in town.

Before anything can be done, the village must get agreement from property owners near Walker's Bluff. Next week, Cambria's Mayor will meet with those residents to discuss annexation.

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