'Cool' microbreweries get zoning fix

Jul 19 2017 | 05:16 AM

By Marilyn Rosenthal
— Milford Borough's zoning laws affecting breweries defies logic.
That's why the borough council, in its July 10 meeting, unanimously agreed to make the lot requirements for microbreweries the same as the lot requirements for brew pubs: 9,600 square feet, making up one commercial lot.
Brewpubs are restaurants or taverns that brew beer onsite. Microbreweries just brew.
The original ordinance said brew pubs were a Class 1 facility requiring 9,600 square feet, while microbreweries were a Class 2 facility requiring one commercial acre, or four and one half town lots.
This didn't make sense for the following reasons:
Microbreweries are smaller operations than brew pubs.
Microbreweries don't serve food — just snacks — while brew pubs may have a restaurant.
Microbreweries typically have seating for about 10 people, while brew pubs may have a restaurant with seats for 50 people.
Frank Tarquinio, with the support of fellow Council member, Adriane Wendell, gave a Power Point presentation explaining the rational for the proposed "curative amendment."
"It is illogical and punitive to a microbrewery applicant to define a condition different than a brew pub, since both businesses are essentially providing the same services with a brew pub adding full restaurant services,"' said Tarquinio. "In essence, we are excluding microbreweries from the borough while allowing breweries with restaurants to operate throughout the commercial district."
The conditional use still gives the borough the ability to impose restrictions, as needed, he said.
This curative amendment is for microbreweries in general in Milford Borough, and not specific to any one microbrewery.
Entrepreneurs have made at least two attempts to start a microbrewery in Milford but gave up because of the many procedural hoops they had to jump through. But now, with this curative amendment, the process may be somewhat easier.
Microbreweries attract MillennialsMicrobreweries are really cool right now. Communities all over the state fight to get these types of establishments in their communities. They appeal to sophisticated beer drinkers, Millennials especially, by offering creative brews and original selections to suit different tastes. Ingredients are often supplied by local vendors.
Microbreweries are not open until the wee hours in the morning. They generally close about 10 and don't usually attract a raucous crowd.
There's been some speculation about microbreweries here in the borough, with some residents afraid that the effluent from the brewing process will make into the ground or streams. It does not: it goes into tanks.
There are no deliveries by huge semis, just regular box trucks. Microbreweries are allowed to make up to 15,000 gallons a year, which is an average of 41 gallons a day. The average bathtub uses 41 to 100 gallons a day. Most single-family homes use more than 40 gallons a day.
Many microbreweries have popped up in the tristate area and nearby communities. In Pennsylvania, there are two in Honesdale and one in Shawnee. In New York state, there is one in Westtown, one in Eldred, one in Pine island, one in Port Jervis, and one in Middletown. And there's one in Lafayette, N.J.
Brewmeisters move inAs Mayor of Milford, Sean Strub has been trying to attract enterprises like this, working with businesspeople who find the process confusing and frustrating.
"This is just the type of business that will enhance the community," Strub said.
Ryan Scott and Joe Fischer are two dedicated young men with years of home-brewing experience and a passion for creating high-quality craft beer. They've now started the application process, including conditional-use permits, for their Log Tavern Brewing Company, which will be sited on East Harford Street, near the Midlantic Realty property.
Both Scott and Fischer have moved up to the area and love it here. They have put everything they have into making their dream come true, a success for themselves and the community.
"Our love of nature and the great outdoors has made Milford the perfect place for the Brewing company to call home," said Scott.
Fischer noted they're offering an attraction not currently in the area.
"We want to involve the community and make a contribution to the community," he said. "That's part of us, and what we want to do."