TIN BARN BREWERY PRESENTS SITE PLANS IN TOWN OF CHESTER
By Edie Johnson
Is there room for another successful brewery and tasting spot in Orange County? Dale and Lauren Van Pamelan think so, and if the response of the Town of Chester Planning Board so far is any indication, it’s going to happen sooner rather than later.
The father and daughter team presented concept plans to the board several years ago, hoping to get a feel for how receptive the town would be, and how complicated the approval process might be. At the time there was some confusion about which regulations would apply since it’s agriculture land, located in an IP zone, and also might be subject to state Ag & Market regulations which by and large are much less restrictive and give a wide berth, especially to this kind of up and coming farm endeavor. But there were questions about how regs for a “Tasting Room” differ from regulations for restaurants, especially if light refreshments are included, and whether they might be exempt from those rules under the Ag & Markets laws as well as some additional leeway that the state of New York offers specifically for Breweries. Trying to be supportive of a possible fast track approval process that Ag & Markets might offer, the board recommended getting some direction from them.
This month the Van Pamelans came back to the Chester Planning board with a set of plans ready, showing a rustic Western style front with a wraparound deck. The facility design is for a 6,473 sq. ft. A-frame structure, on the farm location off Station Road, on the border of Chester and Warwick. It will include a Tasting Room, Light Food Preparation Area as well as the gathering area on the deck and the Brewery itself. New York requires that farm breweries include a major portion of the hops used in the brewing process to be grown on-site, and that is the plan here.
Some guidance was given by the Planning Board which requested some low-lying landscaping around the deck and an emergency turnaround somewhere along the lengthy driveway.
Before proceeding to any final approval and beginning construction on the site, they are waiting on responses from the NYDEC on their sewage disposal system, and from the Department of Health on a proposed water system. The Chester board also requested some additional plans for drainage that might be more or less simple or complicated depending on whether a plan acceptable to Chester and Ag & Markets will be sufficient, or whether they will need a more complex SPEDES permit.
There are a dozen or so new breweries that have popped up in Orange and surrounding counties, but they are all at least 10 to 20 miles away, not the kind of distance one would want to meet up with a few friends after dinner on a work night. The site is also near Sugar Loaf, an Arts and Craft hamlet within Chester and would offer an alternative after shopping.
All in all Chester’s reaction to the application seemed to be “Hey, there are lots of breweries coming up in other towns around here, why not us?”