Where, oh where, to place another brewery in town? Not that one is coming, necessarily.
With three brick-and-mortar breweries already in operation (and a fourth in the planning stages), stock around town for yet another would appear to be limited. So, the town may be adding some more places where a microbrewery can be sited — namely, in Polish Town.
“I think it would be a shot in the arm for Polish Town,” said Councilman Jim Wooten, who brought the proposal forward.
These new permitted locations would be in addition to places in town where microbreweries are already allowed, which include the town’s DC-1 and industrial-C zones.
The new microbrewery locations are proposed in the town’s village center zone. There are three VC locations in Riverhead Town: Polish Town, and Aquebogue and Jamesport on Main Road. However — at least, as of now — microbreweries would only be permitted in Polish Town because the permit needed for a microbrewery in a VC zone requires a sewer hookup. And no sewer currently connects to “downtown” Aquebogue and Jamesport.
Discussion about the change to town code came up at Thursday morning’s Town Board work session, just about a month after the town added DC-1 as a permitted area for microbreweries. While some town board members seemed to favor the new locations, not everyone was raising a glass to the proposal.
“I don’t oppose it, but I’m not in love with it,” said Supervisor Sean Walter. “I just don’t know if it’s needed. Is there somebody clamoring to be in there?”
The town would have to hold a public hearing on the changes before it is added to the code. The proposal includes setbacks of 500 feet away from a school and 200 feet away from a church.
Councilman George Gabrielsen seemed on board with the proposal, so long as the setback provisions remained in tact.
Over the past five years, Riverhead has welcomed three operational breweries in town. A fourth currently contract brews and a fifth is in the planning stages, having recently received tax breaks to open up in the former Second Street Firehouse.
Matt Spitz, who opened Moustache Brewing Co. on Hallett Avenue with his wife Lauri, said on Thursday that more competition wouldn’t be a bad thing.
“Bring it on,” he said.
As far as finding suitable locations for his own business, the couple looked in other towns before settling on Riverhead, but Mr. Spitz said that finding the right spot wasn’t necessarily a challenge for them.
Mr. Wooten said at Thursday’s board meeting that drawing a microbrewery to Polish Town could help liven up the area.
“Having that additional use in that particular zone would certainly enhance possibility of growth and positive growth,” he said. “It lends itself to a desirable area that might help conditions.”
Images:Pulaski Street, Polish Town ( Joseph Pinciaro photo); proposed VC microbrewery zone in Polish Town (courtesy, Riverhead Town)