PC approves microbrewery site plan, recommends special use for tap room

A proposed microbrewery looking to operate a small tap room cleared two hurdles in the approval process during a special meeting of the Oxford Village Planning Commission held Oct. 30.

In successive 6-0 votes, commissioners approved the site plan for One Drop Brewing Co. and recommended the village council grant a special land use that would allow it to operate a tap room “in conjunction” with the brewery.

The special land use request is expected to be addressed during council’s Tuesday, Nov. 13 meeting at 6:30 p.m.

“One of the reasons I am in favor of this is that I believe it’s being handled very responsibly,” said Commission Chairman Gary Douglas. “And I like it when adults are in charge.”

Owned by Addison Township residents Ben Schnurle and Morganne Matheis, One Drop Brewing Co. is looking to operate a microbrewery inside a 3,600-square-foot building located at 130 Oakdell Dr., just east of M-24.

The building, which is 150 feet long and 24 feet wide, is on the north side of where Oakdell deadends. It’s not visible from the highway.

The property is zoned industrial, which allows for breweries as a principal permitted use.

But the tap room – or tasting room where folks can purchase and imbibe on-site the beers made there – is considered a bar or lounge under the village zoning ordinance and therefore requires special land use approval.

Because the property is somewhat tucked away and surrounded by other industrial sites, concerns regarding security and lighting were expressed at the Oct. 16 planning commission meeting.

In response to those concerns, Schnurle, during last week’s meeting, said “downward-facing” exterior LED lighting has been installed to illuminate the property “from end to end.”

“I feel that they are ample, but they are not (infringing) on our neighbors in any way,” he said.

Schnurle noted there will be “24-hour security” on site in the form of six exterior cameras.

Given the One Drop Brewing Co. will get its water from an existing private well as opposed to a municipal system, Commissioner Leslie Pielack asked Schnurle how much water the facility would require.

He estimated that approximately 200 gallons per day, “at the most,” would be used for brewing and cleaning purposes.

Because the facility is already connected to the township sewer system, Commissioner Jack Curtis, who also chairs the township water and sewer committee, explained a water meter will be installed so One Drop can be accurately billed for sewer usage based on water consumption.

Schnurle added that a licensed, private well company will be used to “assess our possible water quality issues” and depending on the results, One Drop is prepared to install whatever type of filtration system is needed.

“We’re pretty sensitive (about) our inputs and outputs,” he said.

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