Honora brewpub's last hurdles


WILMINGTON >> Honora Winery is hoping to make it through the last set of hoops before opening its microbrewery and small restaurant on Route 9.

Honora's J'ville Brewery operations has outgrown a warehouse where brewing is currently taking place, CEO Patricia Farrington told the Select Board on June 15.

"Not every square foot of space is going to be occupied as soon as I open," Farrington said. "Obviously the brewpub will be the first phase in."

She said she's aiming to open in Wilmington by fall. Some of the space at 211 Route 9 East could be used for retail purposes.

An upcoming meeting to discuss water and fire safety is expected to be one of the last steps in the state's Act 250 permitting process.

"The sprinkler system is 90 percent plugged in or ready from the previous permit from years ago for wastewater from the town of Wilmington," said Farrington. "We're going over the system to address needs and concerns of course. We have to follow federal, state, Act 250 and town building codes."

A report will be written by an engineer and submitted to the District 2 Environmental Commission for its review of the permit application. Farrington said she is meeting with experts to look at whether to use a water sprinkler system or a dry pipe system which works via pressurized air or nitrogen instead of water.

"I didn't know I had that option. Apparently, even though all the pipes are in, they can use both. Either or," said Farrington. "So there is a question of how many gallons of water we'll need to maintain in the building to supply the sprinkler system or a dry system."

Honora can get a sufficient amount of water from the well on its property, Farrington said, and she has submitted an application to receive an allocation for sewer services from the Wilmington Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Farrington said she hopes to present final information to the board after meeting with Southern Vermont Sprinkler Service and Brian Johnson, assistant state fire marshal.

Concerns from Wilmington Fire Chief Ken March prompted discussion during the June 15 Select Board meeting. But changes to the original plan have satisfied those concerns, according to Town Manager Scott Murphy, who met with March after the meeting.

"His concern was the same as mine," Murphy said in an interview Tuesday. "They are going to have to meet the requirements of the state, which will be more than satisfactory for the town."

Originally, Murphy was looking at a permit with a plan to develop a smaller section of the building.

"It was just office space basically," he said. "That wouldn't have been adequate for what they're proposing now."

Local officials worried that requesting a hearing with the DEC could bring delays to the project. The Select Board wanted to avoid having the Act 250 permit go from a minor application to a major one. A hearing with the town would trigger the change in permits and more time could be needed.

The board agreed to submit a letter of support.

"From the response of the Select Board, they seem very excited and hopeful this goes forward as I think we all are," Murphy said.

Contact Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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