State approves new 16-seat brewpub on Route 9

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WILMINGTON — While state approval for a brewpub at 211 Route 9 East is secured, a timeline for opening is still far from certain.

"It's really up in the air," Wilmington Zoning Administrator Craig Ohlson said. "They can't do anything until they have sewer. They have a good water supply. They're fine with water but not with wastewater."

On Nov. 15, the District 2 Environmental Commission approved a land use permit amendment for Honora Winery & Vineyard, Inc. The group runs a winery and vineyard in Halifax and J'ville Brewery in Jacksonville.

"This permit specifically authorizes the renovation of and construction of improvements to an existing commercial building to operate a brewery with a 16-seat brewpub, a 16-seat tasting room and a one-bedroom apartment," the commission wrote of the Route 9 property. "The project will be served by on-site water and wastewater services."

Ohlson believes that last sentence will be revised after speaking with Stephanie Gile, District 2 coordinator.

"That's partially correct but only partially," Ohlson said, noting that water will be onsite. "Because they can't tie on to the [Wilmington] Water District because it's outside the water district's well-service district."

A line will need to be extended to the property to connect the town's wastewater system. That "wouldn't be a big deal," Ohlson said, calling it possible but costly. He did not have an estimate available and said opportunities for grants might be explored. A neighboring resident had a line for wastewater run up to his home a couple of years ago, Ohlson said, adding that Honora would not need an easement because the properties abut one another.

The town has scheduled a meeting about water and wastewater extension on Dec. 12 at 4:30 p.m. at the town office. Property owners east of the White House Inn are invited.

Honora CEO Patricia Farrington, who could not be reached for this article, told the Select Board about the project in June 2016.

"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."

The land-use permit says all site work and construction should be completed by Oct. 15, 2019 unless the commission approves an extension. Local approval from the Development Review Board expires in February.

"But they can get an extension on that easily," said Ohlson.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.

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