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Village board extends public hearing on brewery zone change application

Kurt Ofer, standing, architect for the Empire Brewing Company project, refers to a scale model to explain architectural and design aspects of the proposed brewery on Route 13 to attendees of the village board public hearing on March 4.

Kurt Ofer, standing, architect for the Empire Brewing Company project, refers to a scale model to explain architectural and design aspects of the proposed brewery on Route 13 to attendees of the village board public hearing on March 4. Photo by Jason Emerson.

— It was standing room only in the village meeting room last week during a public hearing on Empire Brewing Company’s petition for a zone change on its Route 13 land where it intends to build its new Farmstead Brewery. Nearly 50 attendees heard an overview of the project from owner David Katleski and his management and development team, and were able to ask questions of Katleski and offer comments and concerns on the project to the village board members.

Numerous people spoke in favor of the brewery project, some expressed concerns with the brewery architecture and location and Empire officials said they had made some changes to the project plans in order to address certain neighbor concerns.

“This project has been embraced with open arms in Cazenovia until recently, and we are very sensitive to our neighbors,” Katelski said. “I do not intend to disrupt the harmony that is Cazenovia … by no sense of the imagination do I want this to be imposing to anyone’s life.”

Empire’s proposed project is to build a “farmstead brewery” on 21.6 acres of land on Route 13 that would not only have the finished beer product but also would showcase the entire beer-making process from how the hops and malt are grown and harvested to how the beer is produced. The project, which started in 2011, is intended to take pressure off Empire’s current brewing operations in Syracuse and Brooklyn, which are now running at full capacity.

Current project plans for the Cazenovia brewery show an 18,000 square-foot building on two acres — leaving 90 percent open space on the property — with three hop houses of 900 square-feet each; parking lots for visitors and employees; lavender and hops fields on the eastern portion of the land, with open space on the western edge that could possibly be planted with barley in the future. The plans were recently updated to retain a stand of trees previously slated for removal and the addition of a second bio-retention basin.

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