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Village planning board reviews Farnham Street zone change request

Empire Farmstead Brewery site plan update also on the agenda

— Light believes that her intended alternate use would contribute positively to the community and also serve as a buffer between the commercial and residential neighborhoods along Farnham Street. She has already begun general renovations to improve the exterior appearance and stabilize what was a rapidly decaying structure, she said. She has not begun interior renovations.

“So what do we envision, Jen and I?” Light said. “We see a house that looks as it does now, but with a new roof, restored gardens and new paint. We envision a small exterior sign … that reads, ‘The Farnham Kitchen,’ exterior lighting would be consistent with the residential appearance of the house. Inside, the kitchen would be designed to meet all codes.”

Light said she believes the restored building will contribute to the character of the area but “will not attract much attention” or draw large amounts of people or traffic to the street. “Our proposed use of the building is intentionally on a very small scale,” she said.

Following Light’s description of what they envision for the property, Wong spoke to some concerns voiced at the Aug. 4 village board meeting.

“There was some worry that this would be a very large-scale, industrial-style operation,” she said, noting instead that she and Light intend to run an artisanal business. She also explained that Madison County Health Department requirements make running their businesses out of their own homes infeasible.

Board member Diane Webb asked Wong if she intends to deliver the meals or if people would pick up their food; Adam Walburger inquired about the number of people visiting the property per day; and Anne McDowell questioned how close people would be able to get to the building itself — all questions that concerned the availability of parking and traffic near the property.

While the board is not required to hold a public hearing to make a recommendation, Planning Board Chair Rich Huftalen asked for public input to create dialogue on the matter.

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