Sussex County Council Defers Vote on Proposed Microbrewery in We - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex County Council Defers Vote on Proposed Microbrewery in West Rehoboth

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The company is branding itself as "Revelation Brewing Company," since it's main facility will be located in a former Belltown Church near Lewes (Source: Revelation Brewing Company Facebook) The company is branding itself as "Revelation Brewing Company," since it's main facility will be located in a former Belltown Church near Lewes (Source: Revelation Brewing Company Facebook)

WEST REHOBOTH, Del. - Plans for a microbrewery in West Rehoboth are temporarily on hold, while the Sussex County Council awaits new information on parking plans. This is as some neighbors have voiced their concerns over the proposal, which would allow Beachfire Brewing Company to brew a maximum of 37 barrels per month. 

The microbrewery, proposed for the intersection of Central Avenue and Johnston Road, would be approximately 1,500-square-feet. Beachfire Brewing Company is looking to use the location as a site to test new recipes for craft beers, that could then be brewed on a larger-scale at another Lewes location. The microbrewery can also seat as many as 20 people at once, although no food can be prepared at the location. 

Developer Harry Metcalfe said the project could be an economic boost to the community, by bringing tourists to the less-visited area. He said he also hoped to tap into the nearby bike path, which passes through West Rehoboth. 

"This is really the first business that's in West Rehoboth," he said. "That's really going to invite the public in to come and see the area. And our thought is that once people see - other businesses see that there's a viable commercial use for these properties where the public can visit, they're going to locate things there." 

Some in town have expressed their concerns with the proposal though, including the staff at the Westside New Beginnings Youth Center. Board Member Janet Maull-Martin said that the area has come a "long way" since it was gripped by poverty and drugs. Now she is concerned about an alcohol-based company coming to the area. 

"When you're moving forward," she said. "You want to make sure that those things that come into the community can add to the community. Can help the community to move forward." 

Maull-Martin was one of just two people who spoke in opposition at the Tuesday public hearing. In the end though, the council decided to defer on a decision, until they can receive more information on possible parking plans. Councilman George Cole said he had concerns that the facility may not be large enough to accommodate the necessary parking. 

"We might just be trying to squeeze something in that won't fit," he said.

Westside New Beginnings Executive Director Brenda Milbourne agreed. 

"Looking at the blacktop that they have there," she said. "You can only put six cars at a time... I don't believe that street is the correct place." 

After the vote was deferred, Metcalfe told WBOC that it was frustrating to see the process lasting so long. He said that it has been almost a year since they first applied for the conditional use.

"Something is fundamentally broken with the system," he said. "The council needs to be more business friendly." 

The microbrewery would be a 3.5-barrel system, which would allow the owners to brew a maximum of 70 "half-kegs" a month. Metcalfe said that is approximately one-tenth the amount allowed at a brewpub.

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