Planning commission recommends tasting room expansion

Northern United Brewery has only more hurdle to clear before it can expand its tasting room to include a dining area.

The Dexter Planning Commission voted unanimously Nov. 2 to recommend to the City Council it approve a special land use request for the expansion. The council will likely see the proposal no earlier than Nov. 23.

The recommendation comes with several conditions: The total floor space of the expanded tasting area cannot be more than 15 percent of the total gross floor space of the NUBC facility; Sewer discharge must be at or below permitted levels.

A third condition, amendmending Article 17 of the Research and Development District of the Zoning Ordinance to include the addition of wine, beer and other alcoholic beverage manufacturing as a permitted principal use and a tasting room as a special land use, was recommended by a separate motion.

The actions following a public hearing and discussion by the commission. The public hearing was held at the recommendation of city counsel due to the change in the resolution striking the word restaurant and adding “dining area for food service.”

The hearing was then properly noticed.

Three people spoke at the hearing, former Village President Paul Bishop who opposed the addition of a restaurant in the industrial park; former Village Council member Paul Cousins, who urged the commission to recommend the expansion as a sign of the city being a progressive community and Kyle Marsh who said the tasting room would benefit everyone and with the increased traffic at night, might make the area safer.

The proposed expansion appears to have wide community support, Commission member Jim Carty said. He cited a response on Facebook to a story about the expansion in which 37 people commented positively and 91 overall liked it.

Carty acknowledged that was scientific proof, but noted no one from the industrial park had spoken against the plan.
“This brings a sense of place to the community, like the Jiffy plant in Chelsea,” Carty said, referring to the tours the company gives at its manufacturing plant. “There is no reason to vote against it.”

For the text amendment, one resident spoke, Ted Tear who asked how the company could manufacture alcohol on the premises. Community Development Director Michelle Aniol said the company already possesses the proper license through the state.

Tear again asked the Planning Commission to revoke the special land use permit for the Strawberry Alarm Clock Cafe at 3441 Broad St. Tear said nothing has happened at the location, despite owner Jack Savas’s comments that his builders were ready to go.
“It doesn’t have a chance to make it,” Tear said.

Council member James Smith invited the community to attend a workshop slated for 6 p.m. Nov. 9 before the regular City Council meeting. The meeting will include representatives from Scio Township and a developer who wants to build a residential complex at the southern city limit.

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