The St. Charles County Council held a public hearing Monday on a conditional use permit that would allow the Hoffmann Family of Companies, owned by Washington natives David and Jerri Hoffmann, to build an event center and lodge in Augusta. The permit request is part of the Hoffmanns’ plans to create a 700-acre winery and vineyard destination in the historic wine region north of the Missouri River to rival California’s Napa Valley.
On Monday, the council discussed the Hoffmanns’ request to have a 72-acre parcel of their property rezoned though a conditional use permit, which would allow them to build a lodge and event center, as well as vineyards, on the property. This would make it the first agritourism-zoned property in unincorporated St. Charles County. The project will include amenities such as a rooftop bar, swimming pool, yoga studio, spa and more, according to the Hoffmanns.
“I would say it’s going to be a five-star hotel but priced for everyone to enjoy,” David Hoffmann said when he initially unveiled the lodge renderings.
In August, the St. Charles County Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to recommend the council approve the zoning change, but it also voted unanimously to reject the Hoffmanns’ request for a permit to add a helipad on the property, according to previous Missourian reporting.
If approved, construction is expected to begin sometime next year, according to Killeen Studio Architects. The lodge is part of the Hoffmann Family of Companies’ $100 million investment in the region. A boutique hotel is also planned to be built on the former Emmaus Home campus near Marthasville. The Hoffmanns have also purchased Balducci Vineyards, Montelle Winery, Augusta Winery and Mount Pleasant Estates.
Monday’s public hearing was a packed house of area residents, some of whom came to the podium to give their thoughts. “In my opinion, the developer needs to pony up and be part of the community,” said Arnie Dienoff, one of two speakers addressing the lodge. “He’s making a huge impact on the town of Augusta and unincorporated areas of St. Charles County.”
Dienoff said he supports building the lodge and conference center, but he expressed concerns that backup of traffic on Highway 94 could cause injuries or fatal car accidents. He wants to see improvements made to the surrounding roads.
“As we all know, alcohol and huge, dangerous curves do not go together,” Dienoff said.
Dienoff also felt the Hoffmanns should contribute to the county’s general fund to support the police who will be needed to patrol the area.
The council will vote on this rezoning at their next meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. Sept. 27. That meeting will be at 100 N. Third St. in St. Charles.