Developer Makes Pitch for Brewpub in Lewes Church at Public Hear - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Developer Makes Pitch for Brewpub in Lewes Church at Public Hearing

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Brewpub is proposed for this church, west of routes 1 and 9 (Photo: WBOC) Brewpub is proposed for this church, west of routes 1 and 9 (Photo: WBOC)

GEORGETOWN, Del. - The debate over a controversial brewpub continued on Tuesday afternoon at a public hearing in front of the Sussex County Council. The developer is looking to build the brewpub and restaurant adjacent to and inside the historic Belltown United Methodist Church in Lewes. 

The church, which has its origins in the pre-Civil War era, is not being used by the original congregation, although other church congregations are currently using the space. The church's owners have been looking to sell the property since 2007, due to financial constraints.

Harry Metcalfe, from Revelations Brewing Company, said that his company's proposal was to maintain the church's historical character.

"It couldn't be farther off to say that this is going to damage or hurt in some way the historical nature of the church. It's going to preserve it," Metalfe said. 

Metcalfe said the company will completely renovate the church, restoring the exterior to match it's historical era. Inside of the church will be seating for a restaurant and special events. The developers also plan to build a 9,000-square-foot building adjacent to the church, which would hold the equipment for brewing and cooking, as well as more seating. The proposal also includes two parking lots, on either side of Church Street. 

"We planned it to be kind of a showpiece," Metcalfe said. "And bring it back. Really bring it back to life. Because as it sits now, it's deteriorating." 

At the County Council's public hearing on Tuesday, people spoke in both support and opposition. That included long-time resident Micheal Miller, who said the brewpub would be the wrong fit for a former church. 

"I got married at that church," he said. "I (had the funeral) for my brother and my grandmother. Several others at this church. And we just don't want to see a brewpub or alcohol be served in a church."

Others, like Steven Mumford of Lewes, said they were on board with the plan.

"I feel like this is an extraordinary opportunity for the church and the community as a whole," he said. "For beautification and economic development...This is a win-win situation for the church."

But Lynne Noll, also from Lewes, said the historic community should be maintained. 

"If you let this go through," she said, "the face of Belltown will change forever."

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