Planning Board wants time, more information before making decision

Published 7:34 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Washington’s Planning Board wants time to study proposed regulations governing micro-distilleries before it makes a recommendation to the City Council regarding enacting such regulations.

During its meeting Tuesday, the board received the proposed changes to the city’s zoning ordinances, which were drafted by John Rodman, the city’s director of community and cultural resources. State laws governing micro-distilleries changed in March as the result of action by the North Carolina General Assembly.

Glenn Moore, a city planner, told the board the number of micro-distilleries in the state increased from13 in 2013 to 40 in 2017. “It’s a growing use we don’t address at all in our ordinances,” Moore said.

Board members had questions after a cursory review Tuesday of the proposed regulations, saying they likely would have more questions after an in-depth study of the rules. Board member D. Howell Miller suggested that the regulations be clear in the definitions of a taproom and a tasting room.

Board member Jane Alligood questioned why the proposed rules would allow micro-breweries adaptively reusing buildings in the city’s historic district would be exempt from size limitations that would apply to micro-breweries outside the historic district. Moore said that question should be directed to Rodman for an answer.

Under the proposed regulations, a distillery is defined as “any premises or plant wherein alcohol or liquor is manufactured, made and distilled from raw materials, blende or rectified, or any place wherein alcohol or liquor is produced by any method suitable for the production of alcohol.” The proposed rules, a micro-distillery is a “facility no larger than 12,000 square feet of gross floor area that produces craft distilled spirits of alcoholic beverages at no more than 50,000 US gallons per year and where the principal distiller defines the house style and oversees all aspects of the production.”

The proposed rules would allow a distillery as a permitted use in the I1 (heavy industrial) and I2 (light industrial) zoning districts in the city. Micro-distilleries would be allowed in the B1H (business historic) and B02 (general business) districts by the issuance of special-use permits. The Board of Adjustment would determine whether an applicant seeking such a permit would receive one.

A tasting room at a distillery or micro-distillery would be allowed to provide small “tasting” samples of its products to the public. A person would be allowed to buy a bottle of liquor for consumption away from the distillery or micro-distillery.

Generally, a taproom at a brewery or micro-brewery may sell beer and other malt beverages produced on site to people for consumption on the premises.




About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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