BUSTI - Southern Tier Brewery can move forward with its new project and expansion, but issues still remain with neighbors.
On Monday, a public hearing was held on a special-use permit for the business, located at 2072 Stoneman Circle, Lakewood, to expand the kitchen for the Empty Pint Pub and to build a tasting room that overlooks the brewery's new brewhouse for tours. The new tasting room will also be used for special events and will include a small kitchen for catering purposes. Phineas DeMink, Southern Tier Brewing Company owner along with his wife, Sara, said they do about three tours of the brewery every Saturday, with more than 20 people in each tour. DeMink was also asked about expanded parking at the business. He said now about 100 cars can be parked at the brewery.
The board debated how long the permit for the new tasting room and expanded Empty Pint Pub should be. It has been town policy, in recent years, to have permits be for three years with the understanding the business owner would return at that time and be reapproved if they had followed the criteria. Demink questioned the short timespan for such an investment in his business. Kenneth Lawton, Busti councilman, agreed that it was a short timespan for the business. After some discussion on whether they need to have a time limit on the permit, the board agreed to have no time limit because the special-use permit can be withdrawn at anytime if the business does not follow regulations. The board then approved the permit.
Prior to the discussion on the special-use permit, three Big Tree Road residents spoke to the board about the music concerts that are held at the brewery. They said the concerts are too loud.
In November, the board held a public hearing on a special-use permit for the outdoor stage at the brewery. At the time, the board approved a three-year special-use permit for a band shelter with guidelines. The guidelines for concerts were they should end at 9 p.m. when held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday; no more than three concerts a week should be held; and no more than eight concerts to be held June through September on Sundays, with concerts scheduled to be concluded by 6 p.m.
''We are conscious of the sound level, and we follow the permit to a tee,'' DeMink said.
Jesse Robbins, Busti supervisor, said to the residents he will work with DeMink on improving the volume of the concerts at the brewery.