Catasauqua Press

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Zoners say yes to tasting room

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

On Sept. 19, Fred and Annette Pompa came to the Catasauqua Zoning Hearing Board a second time concerning their proposal for opening a tasting room on Lehigh Street.

This time, the zoners granted permission, including an OK to sell craft beers not brewed on-site.

The borough is not opposed to craft breweries or associated tasting rooms. In fact these uses are actively encouraged.

As the Pompas explained at the June hearing, they want to sell craft brews other than those brewed on-site.

The state permits an owner to sell spirits brewed off-site by other Pennsylvania brewers, but borough ordinances do not currently allow it.

The original intent was to grant the tasting room approval so the Pompas can get a license from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to meet an opening date in time for the Christmas season. The borough is preparing an ordinance that brings its rules in line with those of the state, but at the borough council Sept. 5 meeting, borough Manager Eugene Goldfeder said the ordinance will not be approved in time.

He asked the Pompas to return to the zoning hearing board and get a final approval that would allow them to serve off-site crafted brews. In the interim, the borough’s solicitor would continue to work on the ordinance.

An ordinance requires public notification, a hearing and a council vote of approval. Each step takes at least a month, so the final approval would happen after the Pompas’ target opening date.

Permission from the zoning board allows the brewery to open and sell off-site craft brews before the ordinance is approved.

As part of the zoning approval process, the Pompas reiterated conditions they have agreed to.

The hours of operation are regulated and there is a requirement for 25 parking spaces. In the serving space, snack foods must be provided.

As for sales of products brewed off-site, the sale of those items cannot be more than half of the total sales.

The Pompas are required to submit reports to the borough to show they are in compliance.

The Pompas also offered to conduct an awareness campaign on the dangers of over-consumption of alcohol.