Proposed microbrewery protested

May 10, 1994|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Sun Staff Writer

Mount Airy residents who oppose a proposed microbrewery in the old firehouse on Main Street told the town's Board of Appeals last night that the business would sully Mount Airy's image, erode family values and contribute to alcohol abuse.

"I believe that, as nice as this may sound, it's nothing more than a glorified beer joint," said Dr. Michael Trammel, pastor of Mount Airy Baptist Church. "We may put a bow tie on it and say it's upscale . . . but the bottom line is, people are going to drink and get in their automobiles and drive home."

Dr. Trammel echoed the opinions of most of the 13 speakers at a public hearing. Three people spoke in favor of the microbrewery.

About 50 people attended the hearing. The board's vote on the project had not been taken by late last night. Many people who attended the hearing wore stickers that said, "No brewery."

The business was proposed by a Seattle couple who plan to buy the firehouse and turn it into a microbrewery. A. Reid Allison and his wife, Julie, have signed a contract with the Mount Airy Fire Department to buy the building, contingent on approval from the appeals board to operate the brewery as a special exception.

Robert Hilton, the real estate agent handling the firehouse sale, said the brewery could help to revitalize Mount Airy's downtown.

"It goes with the current trend of drinking less and drinking better," Mr. Hilton said. "The latest trend among beer drinkers is to drink one or two designer beers."

Opponent C. Robert Brown gave the board a petition containing signatures of 109 more opponents.

Town Planner Teresa Bamberger told the board that the town planning staff recommends approval of the special exception.

She said a restaurant is a permitted use in the Main Street commercial district. In addition, she said the renovation of TC major downtown building would encourage further investment downtown.

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