Southold Town Planning Board members agree that Greenport Harbor Brewing Company won’t need site plan approval for its plan to open a second brewing facility at the former Lucas Ford dealership on the corner of Route 25 and Peconic Lane.
The project was referred to the Planning Board by the Building Inspector’s office for review of whether it entailed an intensification of use from the building’s previous use as a car dealership.
Brewery owner Rich Vandenburgh told the Planning Board at a work session Monday that he plans to use the buildings on the site as they are currently configured and place two silos in the interior of the site. He said the company currently has three brewing room staff members and would likely have four or five employees brewing beer with the expansion in Peconic. He said those workers could easily park their cars on the site.
Mr. Vandenburgh said he may consider opening a tasting room at the site in 2013. The board members said that he will need to go through the site plan process before opening a tasting room.
“I think you can argue the intensity is not changing. They used to have large trucks delivering cars. Now it’s going to a manufacturing use,” said Planning Director Heather Lanza at Monday’s work session.
Ms. Lanza said the Chief Building Inspector could still require that the project go through site plan review, or he could agree with the Planning Board’s recommendation.
“I think its a great project,” said Planning Board member Martin Sidor, who said he’d like to see the brewery use local ingredients.
Mr. Vandenburgh said the company is already growing its own hops at the Wesnofski farm in Peconic and he’s looking into malting barley as part of his operation. He said he would also like to grow hops on the Lucas Ford site.
“We’re the only commercial brewery that brews all of our beer on Long Island. We’re going to keep it that way,” he added.
Board member Bill Cremers asked Mr. Vandenburgh to not allow cars to park on Peconic Lane. Mr. Vandenburgh said he had no problem with that suggestion.
Planning Board member Jim Rich said he remembered a time when the car dealership at the site had 20 to 30 employees and was the largest car dealership on the East End.
“I don’t see this as being an intensification of use,” he said. “Certainly not historically.”
“I agree. I think it’s a great project for the town,” said Planning Board chairman Don Wilcenski. “I’d be willing to waive site plan approval.”