Town Meeting allows zoning for microbrewery-related businesses

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Town Meeting allows zoning for microbrewery-related businesses
The interior of the restaurant portion at Cold Harbor on Otis Street in Westborough. Brewery-related businesses may be coming to Shrewsbury. (Courtesy Photo)

SHREWSBURY – Town Meeting gave the go-ahead for microbrewery-related businesses.

On May 21, the second night of Town Meeting, the town’s body of 240 elected representatives approved Article 46, Article 47, Article 48, and Article 49, which, all together, amended the town’s bylaws and paved the way to allow microbreweries and taproom-related businesses throughout Shrewsbury.

Approving the articles was the “first step” to attracting microbrewery-related businesses in town. A taproom-related business had expressed interest in opening in Shrewsbury, but current zoning did not allow for the business to open, according to Director of Planning and Economic Development Christopher McGoldrick. McGoldrick did not reveal the company’s identity.

“We were approached by a brewery that was looking at a number of sites in town. Looking for an approximately 18,000-square-foot, 20,000-square-foot facility or a site that would accommodate that. They have a number of locations. We unfortunately had to say that unless we were able to bring this to Town Meeting, we could not consider that under existing zoning,” McGoldrick said.“That was part of the impetus of doing this. It was the realization that we were not allowing this in a number of viable sites.”

A brew pub, according to the approved bylaws, is a smaller, restaurant-like business that produces malt beverages like beer, ales and hard ciders. The brew pubs may have a commercial element, but the amount of beverage sold to other vendors or businesses is capped at 25 percent of production capacity.

While the terms “microbreweries” and “nanobreweries” were already defined prior to Town Meeting, the businesses were permitted only in the Town Center District. Town Meeting amended the town bylaws, and from this point forward, “brew pubs” and “nanobreweries” will be allowed in more areas, including the Lakeway Overlay District, Route 20 Overlay District, and the Edgemere Village Overlay District.

Microbreweries are allowed by special permit in each instance.

The Community Advocate is providing real-time updates about Shrewsbury’s annual Town Meeting at Oak Middle School. For more information, and to see updates, follow us on Facebook or visit www.communityadvocate.com.

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