Ocean View discusses resident inquiry regarding brewery

The Town of Ocean View will be looking into drafting language for a special exception use for a brewery following the request of local businessman and town resident Joel Antonioli.

Antonioli, owner of Superior Screen & Glass, located on Town Road, contacted the Town to see if opening a brewery would be permissible within town limits.

“I’m just investigating if this is a viable business for me and my current business in Ocean View,” said Antonioli at the Dec. 9 council meeting.

Originally Antonioli contacted Public Works Director Charles McMullen to see if such a business would be in compliance. McMullen said it was not a permissible use in the Town’s current Code.

Councilman Bob Lawless asked Antonioli about his vision for the brewery.

“Currently my vision is to start out small. I’m not going to bet the farm on something. A lot of startup breweries fail but through my investigation a lot of them succeed, also.

“My idea is to start off small and grow if demand requires it. I don’t know where it’ll take me,” he said, adding that he has been researching the idea for three years.

Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader asked if his vision not only included manufacturing but on-site sales, and/or a restaurant.

“That’s not what I’m currently looking at, on-site sales,” he said, stating he would want to work with alcohol distributors, and believes there is a big enough market to sell to liquor stores.

Antonioli said he believed it would work well as an area business.

“I think it would fit a lot with the tourist atmosphere around here. People would like to come here and go away with something made here. That’s a big trend — people want to buy local. They don’t want their beer shipped from Milwaukee; they don’t want their fruit shipped from Central America. They like to buy things local.”

“We look forward to the time when it’s a brand recognized around the world,” said Lawless with a laugh.

McMullen said he would work with Schrader to have a draft presented to council, hopefully by the February 2014 council meeting.

In other Town news:

• The Town held the first read of an ordinance to repeal Chapter 116, Article I, Flood Damage Reduction, and to adopt a new Chapter 116, Article I Flood Damage Reduction, and to adopt flood hazard maps, related to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) flood ordinance.

The Town participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, which requires the Town to adhere to requirements of the federal government and, more specifically, FEMA.

McMullen said the Town had been waiting to see what action Sussex County Council would take. Although the County chose not to make freeboard a mandatory requirement, McMullen said the Town has had a freeboard requirement since 2004.

The ordinance would require new construction, or those properties having significant improvements to have a required two-feet of freeboard, meaning two feet above base-flood elevation.

• Council voted unanimously to reappoint Tom Silvia to the Board of Elections for a three-year term.

• McMullen said businesses in town have been suffering due to the Route 26 project. He said the Town plans to work with businesses to help keep the public informed that businesses will remain open during the construction, and upcoming bridge closures.