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Delaware microbrewery clears first zoning hurdle

A potential West Rehoboth microbrewery has cleared its first zoning hurdle after the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to approve its conditional-use application. A local youth center has openly opposed the plan.

The microbrewery applied for the conditional-use permit for a property that was formerly a church. The intention of the company is to open a microbrewery with a tasting room with a max capacity of 20 people. The conditional-use application was reportedly filed because Sussex County did not have any zoning ordinances regarding the use of property for microbreweries.

The commission moved for approval because the former church is located in a commercial zone. There are also no filed plans for expanding it beyond the original 1,500 square feet of the former church. The commission did place several conditions on the business, including that the final plan for the site must be approved, and the business will not be allowed to store brewed alcohol outside of the business. The approval came Feb. 11.

When an entrepreneur wants to open a business at a specific location, it is sometimes necessary to try to obtain a variance or a conditional-use permit for the intended use. As in this particular case, a real estate lawyer might be able to help their client by researching the local zoning ordinances to make certain the use is permitted. If there are no regulations, they may apply for conditional use. If the use is one that is not generally allowed for the area, they may request a variance for their client. Doing this before actually agreeing to purchase a particular piece of commercial real estate is important so that entrepreneurs can be certain that they can open the business they want on their property.

Source: Cape Gazette, "Commission Recommends Approval of Microbrewery," Ron MacArthur, Feb. 19, 2016.

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