A public hearing on proposed Local Law No. 1 of 2018 held on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, in the Town Hall Senior Center was called to order by Supervisor Frederick J. Forbes, Sr., at 6:30 p.m.
Frederick J. Forbes, Sr., Supervisor
Larry R. Jones, Councilman
Michael R. Park, Councilman
Barry E. Warren, Councilman
Kevin M. Williams, Councilman
Patrick M. Snyder, Attorney for the Town
Anita W. Jebbett, Town Clerk
Jason & Dina Kristof, Route 90 residents & brewery owners
Robert Haight, Executive Director, Cortland Chamber of Commerce
Megan Lawton, Director, Cortland County Convention & Visitors Bureau
Victor Siegle, Village resident
Mr. & Mrs. Peter Rogati, Foster Road residents
Linda Jones, Cortland County Legislator
Donald Ferris, reporter, The Homer News
Nick Graziano, reporter, Cortland Standard
Supervisor Forbes read the legal notice (attached) which states that the local law would amend the Town’s zoning law to allow the planning board to grant a permit for a farm brewery, farm cidery, farm distillery, and farm winery in the residential and agricultural districts of the Town provided that certain conditions are met.
Attorney Snyder explained that the local law must be reviewed by the County Planning Board which will meet on December 19th, before the Town may consider approving it.
Bob Haight of the Cortland Chamber of Commerce said that from a business standpoint, farm breweries etc., are part of a growing tourist industry in New York State, spurred by the “Farm to Table” and “Buy Local, Eat Local” movements, and encouraged by New York State policies to promote tourism and expand options for farmers. He was pleased that the Town was considering the adoption of the local law and looking forward to the possibility of a farm brewery being established in the Town. He said that he expects brewery tourists to take advantage of other amenities that the Town and Village of Homer have to offer.
Megan Lawton of the County Convention & Visitors Bureau said that she would be thrilled to add a potential farm brewery in the Town of Homer to the current map of local breweries across the State. She agreed that they are a huge draw for tourists and supports the Town’s efforts to allow such establishments through adoption of a local law.
Councilman Williams again voiced his concern over the 10 acre lot size which he believes is too restrictive. Attorney Snyder said that it would be a simple process for the Town Zoning Board of Appeals to issue an area variance. Councilman Jones said that the lot size allows for access, parking and a buffer zone for neighbors. Other Board members agreed that as long as there is a mechanism for an applicant who has less acreage to apply for a variance, they would approve of the current wording on lot size.
Peter Rogati, a resident of nearby Foster Road, voiced concerns about the proposed brewery on Route 90. He said that Route 90 can be a treacherous stretch of highway and that he is concerned about access. Councilman Warren said that the State DOT will get involved to help determine the best spot for a new driveway onto the highway. Jason Kristof said that he has already obtained a permit from the DOT for the proposed brewery.
Rogati was also concerned about excessive lighting. Attorney Snyder said that such concerns would be matters for the Planning Board to address in issuing a permit for a brewery.
As there were no further questions or comments, Supervisor Forbes said that the Town Board would be taking up the matter of the local law again either at the December 28th meeting or at the January meeting.
The public hearing was closed at 6:45 p.m.
Anita W. Jebbett