Mount Airy panel votes 3-2 to allow microbrewery

May 11, 1994|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Sun Staff Writer

The Mount Airy Board of Appeals voted 3-2 Monday night to grant a special exception to a proposed microbrewery, despite protests from local church members that a brewery would destory the town's family image and promote alcohol abuse.

Michael Trammel, pastor of Mount Airy Baptist Church, expressed disappointment after the vote.

"I had hoped that there would be a greater concern for the moral considerations and for the overall image of our community," Mr. Trammel said. "There's nobody considering the potential impact this is going to have on families and the potential damage to lives and marriages."

About 50 church members and other residents attended the hearing at Mount Airy's town hall to express their concerns about plans to turn the old town firehouse into a microbrewery.

Mayor Gerald Johnson, who said he supports the microbrewery because of its potential to help revitalize downtown Mount Airy, acknowledged that the Board of Appeals vote was a difficult one.

"It certainly was not an easy matter to make a decision on because emotional and moral concepts came into play," Mr. Johnson said.

Board of Appeals members James Lumadue, Joseph Jansen and Robert Kanagy voted to grant the special exception to the microbrewery.

Chairman Bob Woodward and member John Weaver voted against it.

The special exception allows Seattle lawyer R. Reid Allison to move ahead with his microbrewery plans and his purchase of the firehouse.

Mr. Allison, a former Mount Airy resident, said he plans to submit a final site plan to the town's planning and zoning commission for review at its meeting May 23.

Under state law, microbreweries must have a restaurant on site and may produce up to 10,000 barrels of beer per year. The beer can be sold on-site and to distributors or wholesalers.

Last week, Mr. Allison signed a sales contract with the Mount Airy Fire Department to buy the old firehouse, which has been vacant for two years. He is conducting feasibility studies on opening the brewery.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.