We report as much as we can on the state regulations that affect the craft beer industry, both good and bad, because those local regulations have an enormous say into what craft beer regions rise and fall. But beneath those big state headlines are even more local decisions that are just as important for the little guy out there (and sometimes the big guy) — zoning laws.
We caught wind of some nice zoning wins last week — in North Carolina, Connecticut, New York and Oklahoma — and thought we’d share the news.
Winterville, N.C. amends zoning laws to allow craft breweries, craft beer stores
North Carolina is killing it with craft breweries, and Winterville doesn’t want to miss out. According to this article in The Times Leader, the Winterville Town Council voted 4-1 to amend its zoning ordinance to allow wine and craft beer retail stores, microbreweries and brewpubs and regional breweries within the town limits.
Talk about no-brainers. Some of the finer details:
- Wine and craft beer retail stores (defined as a store that also allows two-ounce tastings on site) are now allowed in central and general business districts, intermediate and neighborhood commercial districts and the industrial districts.
- Microbreweries and brewpubs are permitted in central and general business districts and intermediate commercial and industrial zones. Regional breweries (over 15,000 bbls) are allowed in the industrial district per the ordinance change. Regional breweries also are allowed in central and general business districts and intermediate commercial zones pending a conditional use approval by the Winterville Board of Adjustments.
- Per the town’s existing ordinance, businesses that sell alcohol may not exist within 200 feet of a church, elementary or secondary school, public park or residentially zoned property. The facility’s main entrance also may not face a residential district.
The article notes that the town is hoping for a revitalization success pattern noticed in other towns nearby, in which breweries opened and drew enough interest to prop up other adjacent businesses.
The opening of Mother Earth Brewing in downtown Kinston helped revitalize the area with vacant store fronts being filled with restaurants and retail shops. The same type of revitalization is occurring on Dickinson Avenue in Greenville with the opening of Trollingwood Taproom & Brewery and another brewery opening across the street. Trollingwood has resulted in art venues opening and more businesses eyeing the area.
Buffalo Zoning board makes way for renovation
The Buffalo Zoning Board of Appeals has OK’d the renovation of the Schaefer Malt House in order to turn it into a craft brewery, says the Buffalo News.
The board approved a use variance for a brewery in an area zoned as manufacturing, allowing Community Beer Works Inc. to proceed with plans to renovate part of the former malt house at 520 Seventh St.
The owners plan to use 2,200 square feet for brewing beer, 5,000 square feet for packaging and storage and 2,400 square feet for the commercial kitchen and tap room with a bar area, food service, seating and an outdoor beer garden. The $1.5 million project was already approved by the Buffalo Planning Board.
Ridgefield, Conn., approves a microbrewery add-on to manufacturing businesses
The Planning and Zoning Commission in Ridgefield, Conn., listened to a proposal for a microbrewery that would seat about 40 people in its tasting room and would be part of a totally unrelated manufacturing business. We love this outside the box thinking (reminds me of one of my favorite hole in the wall breweries, Apocalypse Brew Works in Louisville, Ky., which operates essentially in the parking lot of a construction company on the weekends).
Anyhow, good on Ridgefield for going with the flow on this one. We assume someone banged a gavel in approval and everyone broke out into applause and maybe a song and dance number. Maybe threw papers in the air. Those details were left out of the Ridgefield Press article, unfortunately, but we do know these details:
Attorney Bob Jewell presented an amendment to the existing regulations that would include “brewery” and “brew pub” on behalf of his client, applicant Robert Kaye, who plans to portion off part of the 32,000-square-foot building to open his unnamed brewery.
Kaye’s manufacturing businesses on-site, Riverside Fencing and Riverbed Wood Floor Co., would all remain in operation next to the new brew pub, Jewell told the commission.
Town Planner Joanne Meder will draft a resolution of approval for both the regulation amendment and a new special permit use for the brewery to operate within the town’s commercial zone.
Concerns raised during the hearing included the plans for the retails sales of merchandise and the smell.
Norman, Okla., frees up craft breweries to sell its own beer to its customers
I know, can you believe it? What a concept. Oklahoma doesn’t have the best reputation supporting its craft beer industry, but opinions may be slowly changing, at least in Norman. According to the Norman Transcript, the Norman City Council passed ordinance and zoning amendments that allow for the purchase of alcohol at two local breweries. Another amendment established that special events in Norman also are allowed to sell alcohol on site.
The amendment allows for breweries or distilleries within I-1 light industrial zoning to sell alcohol, so long as the establishment is certified by the Oklahoma ABLE Commission. 405 Brewing has discussed an ordinance change since the state legislature approved Senate Bill 424 last spring to allow breweries to sell on site.
Carson said it will be 30 days before the amendment takes effect. During that time, the brewery will apply for a letter of compliance from the city and host the necessary inspections to make the measure official.
In addition, Lazy Circles Brewing, a nano-brewery planned for 422 E Main St., will sell alcohol products on site in C-3 intensive commercial district zoning after the council passed a zoning amendment.
Goes without saying that this decision is huge for breweries in the area and maybe makes some potential brewers lying in wait more likely to follow up on their vision now that the business case is way more compelling.
Have you experienced any cool regulatory or zoning wins? Defeats? Would like to hear what’s going on out there if you have the time to share: [email protected].