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Empire farmstead brewery project moving forward

Land annexation finalized, public hearing scheduled

— Empire Brewing Company’s proposed farmstead brewery project on Route 13 took two more steps forward last week when the village board of trustees finalized the brewery’s land annexation request and scheduled a public hearing on a proposed zone change for the land.

The board previously approved annexation into the village of the brewery’s 22-acre lot on Route 13, just across the village line near Lorenzo’s Rippleton Schoolhouse, at its Jan. 7 meeting. At its Feb. 4 meeting, the board unanimously approved the adoption of a local law to accept the annexation of the brewery land. This formal approval was the “final step” in the annexation process, said Village Attorney Jim Stokes.

The next step for the village board to take concerning the proposed brewery project is the consideration of a change in the zoning district, said Mayor Kurt Wheeler. The land currently is zoned for residential use, which must be changed in order to build the multi-use (agricultural, commercial and tourism) brewery.

The board scheduled a public hearing on the zone change issue for 6:45 p.m. Monday, March 4, prior to the board’s regularly-scheduled monthly meeting.

Stokes also recommended that the board look at how the proposed brewery’s operations may be prohibited under the zoning regulations currently within of the Village Code. Section 180-5, “Village Zoning — Prohibited Uses,” of the code states that the “milling of flour, feed or grain” is prohibited “In any district, notwithstanding any statements of permitted uses or any definitions or lack of definitions in these regulations, any use which may reasonably be determined and characterized by the Planning Board.”

Wheeler said this prohibition was probably incorporated into the village code in the 19th century and just needs to be updated.

On Monday, Feb. 11, Empire Brewing Company officials presented their site plan and architectural review to the village planning board during a public hearing on the proposed brewery project. Full details will be published shortly at cazenoviarepublican.com and in next week's issue.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at editor@cazenoviarepublican.com.

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