At last week’s Yates County Planning Board meeting, Town of Benton applicant Jason Martin, owner of Twin Pines Power Equipment, 1171 Route 14A, was approved for an amendment to his Special Use Permit to allow for relocation of his business to 1300 Route 14A, the former Essenhaus restaurant and bakery, owned by Tom Hansen. The sale is pending review and approval of the Special Use Permit by the county and town.

Martin plans on using the restaurant building as the office and sales floor for Twin Pines, a business he has owned since 2015, but not the property at the current location. He plans to add a 7,200 sq. ft. addition to the west side of the existing building to serve as the repair shop, and a 15,625 sq. ft. fenced area as a secure equipment area. Martin plans on displaying 20 to 30 pieces of equipment between the building and the highway in two areas of lawn, and more on the south edge of the parking lot.

Clarence Miller originally built the restaurant in 1995. Known as Miller’s Essenhaus and serving hearty Mennonite-styled farm fare, it proved hugely popular. With an added bakery and country gift shop, the Essenhaus soon became a “must” for any visitors to Yates County. Its popularity with locals kept the business busy year round. Tom and Sandy Hansen purchased it in 2006 and closed in 2011 upon their retirement. The property has been vacant and for sale since that time.

Other recent business progress:

• Dollar Tree: Work has begun on the former Super Duper Market on Lake Street in Penn Yan in preparation for a Dollar Tree store. The mansard-roofed overhang has been demolished as the first step in renovations to the original building, which has also been vacant for a number of years. Many in the community have commented on the arrival of a third “dollar store” in the Lake Street neighborhood, but many others praise Dollar Tree as an enterprise, and welcome it rather than see the property continue to decline.

• Finger Lakes Premier Properties: Construction is nearing completion of the large new building in the Horizon Business Park on Penn Yan’s south hill. Brian Zerges’ rental property management, housekeeping, and commercial laundry business has expanded greatly, and will occupy the new facility.

• Tractor Supply: Just a bit further south, earthwork has begun in the most recent expansion of Penn Yan’s Village border, which was extended to allow the construction of a new Tractor Supply store. Heavy equipment is stripping back top soil and leveling the lot in preparation for construction to begin in the coming weeks. The project was dependent on the availability of municipal water and electricity. The water main will be installed by Tractor Supply’s contractors at their expense and to the Penn Yan Municipal Board’s specifications,then incorporated into the village system.

• Oak Hill Bulk Foods: Earthwork is also underway even further south on Rte. 14A — at Oak Hill Bulk Foods in Second Milo. Two raised leach fields are being installed for the planned expansion of the market, a larger bakery, and the Oak Leaf Café. Owner Phil Riehl says the expansion project has been delayed, but expects work to be completed in autumn.