Ramble On

Friday, March 25, 2016

Brewery Lore and Loose Ends @hawksbillbrew

Along with everything else going on right now as we continue to develop the brewery, a few weeks ago we discovered a hitch in the zoning for the building.  I’m not altogether clear on how or why the problem was discovered – but it sheds some interesting background on the building, so I thought I might revisit the topic
What we know so far about the building is that it was built in the 19-teens to be an ice storage facility for the railroad, which passes alongside to the west to this day.  When refrigeration came along, that business faded away, and the next one to occupy the building was the “Blue Ridge Creamery” – sometimes you can find bottles and such from them on eBay – and I’ve found a few folks around town who remember the creamery.

Following that was a string of retail establishments, including an auto parts store that was there for a long time, and many people remember.  Since Mary and I have been coming to Luray, we’ve known the building as an appliance store and as the scooter store, which was the most recent iteration.

Flash forward to 2016, and as we were going through permitting and licensing activities, we discovered that the building was in the industrial zone of town – probably as a legacy to those earlier uses.  During almost 50 years of use for retail, the zoning was never changed to commercial.  It became necessary to clarify the zoning, and working with the Luray Fire Department, our landlord, we decided to seek the zoning change.

This is a regulated process, requiring meetings with the Planning Board and the Town Council, along with advanced notice in the paper and even a site visit – I have a copy of that post here as a photo.  When all was said and done, the rezoning was approved – but we had a lot of in person support at the meetings, and quite a few letters were sent in.  

That inspired the following Facebook post, which I wanted to share on the blog:
We had so much support for our meetings with the planning commission and town council today - it was both humbling and exciting. Thanks so much to everyone who came out and spoke or wrote a letter today on our behalf. There is a little bit of a road ahead - but we are looking forward to it. It's going to be a fun ride.

One of the fun comments on Facebook was an article about characteristics that identify successful towns – and the presence of craft breweries was one of the features.  Here’s the link, and the quote is below:
Having craft breweries. This might seem like the strangest attribute, but the researchers say a town that has a craft brewery has a certain kind of entrepreneur spirit and is a reliable marker of a city on the move.

We certainly hope to have that kind of a positive impact!  

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