Brewery location rejected in Red Hook

A proposed brewery at 210-214 Oriole Mills Road has been rejected by the Town of Red Hook Zoning Board of Appeals.

The applicant, Jakob Cirell, had planned to build a farm operation around the brewery, using the spent grains for livestock feed. However, the ZBA ruled on Sept. 12 that town code would only allow a brewery as an accessory to a working farm, not the other way around.

To be an accessory use, a farm industry must be “clearly incidental and secondary” to the main farm operation, such as producing tomato juice from tomatoes grown on the farm, noted Chairman Nick Annas. The clause is meant to help legitimate farmers expand the income of their farms throughout all seasons.

Cirell did not attend the meeting and the application was represented by TLC Acreage representative Mitchell Bodian, who could not refute testimony by neighbors that crops had not been grown on the property for decades. Since other uses of the property, such as horse boarding, do not meet the definition of agriculture in the town code, the board decided the property could not be considered a farm.

Bodian asked whether a brewery would ever be permitted on the property which is in a residential district that prohibits most commercial and industrial uses other than farming. But the ZBA declined to rule on whether a brewery would ever be a permitted use in the RD3 district since the key matter of whether the property was a farm had been decided. If after two years, as specified by code, the property has a working farm, the question of whether the brewery is an accepted use could be revisited.

The property, located behind the Red Hook Golf Course, was the subject of a separate ruling by the ZBA denying its use for party rental equipment storage as well.

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