EATON — A public hearing regarding a preliminary plan for a potential $2 million brewery and pub to be located on currently vacant land at 400 Eaton-Lewisburg Road was pulled from Eaton City Council’s agenda last Monday, Sept. 19. No action was taken by council on the proposal.
Council had received an “unfavorable recommendation” from the Eaton Planning Board, which voted on the proposed Planned Unit Development at its Aug. 9 meeting.
Richard Ewing applied for the PUD, “to allow for specialty retail commercial, specialty food stores, person services or commercial centers.” The proposed development, to be known as Big Belly Brewing LLC, would include the construction of a craft beer manufacturing plant and an onsite pub at the corner of Eaton-Lewisburg Road and Aukerman Street.
According to the application, “brew pubs are becoming very popular and Eaton, Ohio could easily support one.”
Ewing’s application noted, “the initial building will be between 7,000-10,000 square feet. It will be a metal building that will be attractive to the general public with a 20-foot clear span ceiling. The building will consist of two sets of pedestrian doors and two overhead doors for loading and unloading materials by forklift.”
The plan noted, “Approximately 60 percent of the floor space will be allocated for the brewing, kegging and canning process. There will also be warehouse area for raw materials and a large cold storage area. The rest of the building will be for the pub area, and will also include space for a future kitchen. Only finger food will be served at the start of the operation s and patrons may have a pizza delivered to the pub for their consumption. Food service will be added in the future.”
The proposed business would include a small stage for entertainment purposes, and an outside seating area. Future plans called for a banquet center to be added as a separate building, with an enclosed hallway connecting it to the Brew Pub.
The expected date for physical development to begin on the property was next month, had it been approved.
Currently, the parcel of land is zoned C-2, Community Commercial District. According to Planning Board records, several residents in the area were present at the Aug. 9 meeting to voice their concerns “of safety, increased traffic, noise, litter and overall thoughts of this business in a residential area.”
According to planning board, city staff determined that “with 60 percent of the operation being a manufacturing process, this would fit better in an industrial district.” Planning board’s unfavorable recommendation was made “considering all the underlying issues, such as the area in question is mostly a residential area and will not be a good fit for a manufacturing facility and a pub.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.