Feb 17, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The Nelson Town Board has been actively trying to entice new businesses to open in Nelson with varying success, but at the board’s latest meeting last week they announced that a new local investor is preparing a proposal to open both a nanobrewery and coffee roaster business right in the Nelson four corners. While the idea is only in the earliest of stages, town officials are excited by the possibility and entrepreneur Nancy Demyttenaere is optimistic she could open for business by mid-summer.
“This could have some really nice benefits for the town,” Demyttenaere told the board during its Feb. 13 meeting. “We want to work with Nelson Farms and The Nelson Odeon and get things percolating again in Nelson. We want to help preserve the historic character in town — and have some fun.”
Demyttenaere’s idea “happened quite by accident” she said, when she and a group of friends were talking outside the Nelson Odeon after a show. When the event was over and the venue closed, the friends wanted to continue the evening but had no place to go.
“We saw that Bob MacKinnon’s place was going up for sale soon … and thought that if we lose that building [to a commercial chain business] it would alter the synergy of the four corners. We saw an opportunity to take an old house and readapt it for new uses,” Demyttenaere said.
Demyttenaere, a state employee nearing retirement, ultimately bought the house, located at 3408 Route 20, directly across the street from Nelson Farms, and closed the sale barely two weeks ago. The Federal-style building is one of the oldest in Nelson, dating back to about 1810, and was once a grocery and textile store owned by Charles Covell, Demyttenaere said.
The building has two rooms on the first floor, which would house the nanobrewery on one side and the coffee roaster on the other, and two rooms on the second floor, which Demyttenaere plans to use for office space.
Both the nanobrewery and coffee roaster would be small, handmade operation using all locally grown ingredients, Demyttenaere said.
Nanobreweries, sometimes referred to as pico breweries, or bucket breweries, by definition distribute to a limited area and only make beer in very small quantities, typically less than four barrels per batch, according to craftbeer.com and americancraftbeer.com.
Demyttenaere already has informally attended two town planning board meetings and is currently preparing her formal application to readapt her building to business uses, but the process has a long way to go. First and foremost is the building’s historic design and integrity.
The building is “very narrow” inside, and in order to use it for the proposed business purposes, Demyttenaere must either reconstruct the entire interior or get an exemption from certain code requirements based on the building’s historic significance to the community. She appeared before the town board at its Feb. 13 meeting to ask the board to designate the house as historically significant, which would then allow her to apply for the code exemption.
Demyttenaere, who has worked in the state historic preservation agency for the past 35 years, said without the exemption so many renovations and changes may have to be made to the building as to completely destroy the building’s historical integrity.
Town Supervisor Roger Bradstreet said the town completed a survey of historically significant structures in 2002, and the board discussed whether they could use that registry — which includes the MacKinnon house — to declare the building historically significant.
Town Attorney Jim Stokes said the board could either pass a local law or approve a resolution to formally establish such a registry based on the previous survey. The resolution could also give the board the authority to add or remove properties from the register.
The board unanimously agreed to task Stokes to write up a resolution to establish a registry of historically significant buildings in the town, which they will consider at their March meeting.
Also at the meeting, the board:
—Appointed Diane Cass to the town planning board to fill the unexpired term of Sean Hagan who resigned in January. The appointment will not take effect until Cass resigns from the town zoning board of appeals, on which she is currently a member. The ZBA now has a vacant seat that needs to be filled. Anyone interested in being considered as a candidate for the ZBA should contact the Nelson Town Office at 655-8582 or email@example.com.
—Heard from Bradstreet that some local veterinary surgeons are looking to open a new private surgery center business in Nelson. The business would be separate from the Morrisville College Equine Rehabilitation Center, but complimentary to it since the center has so surgery operation. The surgeons will appear before the town planning and zoning boards when they are ready to formally propose their business ideas, Bradstreet said.
—Heard from Town Clerk Deb Costello that the new hunting and fishing license system municipalities have been mandated to use by the state — and that has been inoperable since January — remains inoperable. “Even Wal-Mart had an out-of-order sign” for their license issuance station, she said. But even when the new system did work, it now takes her 20 minutes to issue a license when under the previous system it took her five minutes, she said.
—Approved a new schedule of fees for town zoning. Town Codes Enforcement Officer Roger Cook said the major changes in the schedule are for subdivision fees and planning board and zoning board of appeals paperwork fees. The fees have not been changed since 1992, he said.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.