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May 23, 2013

Trustees approve special use permit for distillery

By Greg Klein Staff writer
Cooperstown Crier

---- — The Cooperstown Board of Trustees unanimously approved the special use permit for Cooperstown Distillery on Monday.

The planned brewery and possible restaurant and retail store has passed two of the four needed municipal reviews. On May 16, the village planning board deemed the project qualified for special use permits for four uses: light manufacturing, restaurant, retail sales and accessory onsite parking for 14 spaces.

“We believe the project will meet all the objectives when we get through with the site development plan,” planning board chairman Charles Hill told the trustees on Monday.

The distillery, which would be built at 11 Railroad Ave. by Florida businessman Gene Marra, in the old Agway storage building owned by Mike Manno, still needs two more rounds of approval. On June 18, the planning board will hold a public hearing on the project after sending out required neighbor notifications. The project will also need approval from the village’s Historical Preservation & Architectural Review Board for a new door planned for the front of the building.

Marra could not be at the meeting on Monday because of a family emergency in Florida, according to his engineer, Jon McManus. McManus said that Marra is not currently planning to run a restaurant as part of the business, but wanted to apply for the special use permit in case of expansion by him or a future owner.

“If he can get by with the distillery, he will not go forward with the restaurant,” McManus said.

The project was also up for a public hearing before the trustees on Monday, but no members of the public had any comment on it.

In other news, the board set four public hearings for its June 24 meeting:

• A hearing was set for Tom Selover of 64 Pioneer St. who has applied to convert a garage on his property into a single family two-bedroom apartment.

• A hearing was set for Local Law No. 10 which will amend existing traffic laws to ban cars from parking in trolley stops from Memorial Day to Labor Day. “The concern was there wasn’t anything on the books regarding trolley stops, so this addresses it,” said Deputy Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh.

• A hearing was set to ban trailer parking on Fish Road by the boat launch. Tillapaugh said that she was concerned that people were filling up the small parking lot by unhooking trailers and taking up two spots per boat, one for the trailer and one for the car or truck pulling the trailer. “It really is a consistent complaint we are getting,” she said.

• A hearing was set to review an economic sustainability committee recommendation that property owners be allowed to take exemptions on increases to property assessment values based on development improvements.

“We want to try to find as much incentive as possible for people to improve their historic buildings for commercial or residential use,” said trustee Cindy Falk, who is chair of the committee.

Trustee Lou Allstadt, who is also on the committee, added, “eventually it will all come back into the tax base.”

The board also voted unanimously to declare Saturday, July 13 and Sunday, July 14 a special event weekend. The Grateful Dead legacy band Furthur will play at Doubleday Field on July 14. Because the concert weekend is now considered a special event, lawn parking and outdoor vending will be allowed.

The board also approved the purchase of a push lawn mower from Cazenovia Equipment Company in Oneonta. The $389 mower will be free, according to Tillapaugh, “thanks to most awesome moment of couponing ever.” The village had a $398 coupon with the company and will now have a $9 credit left over for a future purchase.