Split vote nods Wiscasset brewery

Posted:  Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 7:45am

Christopher Juntura said outside the Wiscasset municipal building Monday night, he was feeling relieved he can start building his brewery on Wood Lane. He has a hop farm there. And in a majority vote Monday, the planning board agreed to the 20-foot-tall, 2,400-square-foot brewery that includes a tasting area with a view.

In Monday’s public hearing before the vote, Selectwoman Kim Andersson asked if the brewery would use hops grown at the farm. It would, he said.

“That’s awesome,” she said.

“It’s delicious,” he said.

Juntura said the brewery would be on the public sewer and, depending on well water tests' outcome, possibly public water.

Zach Labbay, a partner in one of the planned brewers, told the board later, water is the most important part of the brewery. “So we want to make sure it’s quality water.”

Juntura also asked for parking on the other side of Wood Lane, but he said he did not yet have his surveyor’s documents to show the plan would amend the subdivision. Board member Karl Olson said if the board had those, it could approve the whole package. Chair Ray Soule said he would like Juntura to be able to get started on the building and come back for the parking.

Member Deb Pooler told Juntura she was very pleased he wanted to have the business in Wiscasset. “I think we need things like this in our town. We’re trying to keep younger people here, and this is exactly what would do that.” She, Soule, Tony Gatti and Lester Morse agreed to pass the proposed brewery that night. Olson, Jackie Lowell and Peter McRae opposed Gatti’s motion. No date was set to decide parking.

Also Monday, James Kochan of James L. Kochan Fine Art & Antiques on Main Street said due to the state’s downtown project the town should be working on parking rules for the Village 1 and 2 zones. He recommended a study group including planning board members and people the parking changes will impact. The board thanked Kochan for his comments.