Planning Board schedules special meeting to keep brewery open

07/22/2014 10:24 AM |
The new Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. tasting room in Peconic is likely to remain open in August, though it still needs site plan approval.

The new Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. tasting room in Peconic is likely to remain open in August, though it still needs site plan approval. (Credit: Vera Chinese, file)

The Southold Town Planning Board has scheduled a special meeting next Monday to grant site plan approval for the new Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. tasting room in Peconic. 

Without site plan approval and a certificate of occupancy to open the tasting room, the new location could have to close for the first weekend in August after being allowed to operate on weekends in July using special events permits.

Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. owners Rich Vandenburgh and John Liegey told the Planning Board at its work session Monday that losing a weekend in the summer would create a hardship for their business, which opened at its first location on Carpenter Street in Greenport  five years ago and has spent more than $4 million over the past two years to expand brewing capacity and open the second tasting room.

“We’re desperate for financial success,” Mr. Vandenburgh said.

Town planning director Heather Lanza said another option for the brewery would be to serve its beer in an outside tent without opening the tasting room during the first weekend in August, since it does have an existing CO for the brewery space and, under that scenario, would not need one for the tasting room that weekend. She said she believes its unlikely the brewery could secure additional special event permits.

Mr. Liegey said having the tasting room open is crucial for the sale of retail merchandise, but Mr. Vandenburgh conceded that if opening the tasting room is not possible, they’d pursue whatever other options are available to them.

“Including selling pies by the roadside,” he joked.

Town planner Brian Cummings said the brewery is likely to pass another major hurdle this week when it is expected to receive health department approvals.

The Planning Board agreed to schedule the special meeting for Monday, July 28 at 4 p.m.

Mr. Vandenburgh said work on the property is more than 80 percent complete. By next week’s meeting the work should be complete with the exception of a few trees that will need to be planted and some gravel to be laid out in the parking areas.

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