Planning board approves Empire brewery site and architectural plans

— It’s official: Empire Brewing Company is coming to Caz. The village planning board Monday night unanimously approved Empire’s site and architectural plans for their farmstead brewery on Route 13.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” said Empire owner David Katleski. “It certainly exhausted everyone that was involved in process, but I think overall it was a good process where not only community leaders but the community had their say in the project; and I think ultimately it will result in something everybody is really proud of.”

The planning board reviewed at its Sept. 8 meeting about one dozen points of emphasis broached at its August meeting on the brewery project such as authorized land uses, lot coverage limitations, building height and preservation of existing vegetation. In addition to those items, the board also specifically discussed what type of tree species to allow at the front of the lot and what type of lighting to allow, said planning board Chair Rich Huftalen.

After about an hour of review and discussion, the planning board voted 5-0 to approve the site and architectural plans.

“It’s been an arduous and exhaustive process, not always fun, but we’ve gotten a much better project out of it at the end, and I’m confident this will be a great benefit to the village and the surrounding area,” Huftalen said.

With the site and architectural plans approved, Empire must next obtain final engineering approval for its stormwater prevention plan, approval of water and sanitary sewer connections, state Department of Transportation permits for Route 13 access and final state Department of Environmental Conservation approval. Once those are completed and approved, Empire will apply for its building permit.

Katleski said he is “not in any hurry” to undertake a construction project during the winter, so the groundbreaking for the brewery will not occur until spring 2014.

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

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