Middleburg Council Expresses Concern About Proposed Brewery

A Middleburg-area brewery proposal has sparked concern from neighbors and is now under scrutiny by the town.

The Middleburg Town Council on Thursday night agreed to send a letter to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority expressing concerns about the proposed 10-acre Fueled Farm Brewery along Rt. 50 east of town. They want more information about the project, such as the impact it could have on area roads, and also are concerned about objections being mounted by neighbors

During their presentation to the council in May, the owners indicated their neighbors were onboard with the project. But a month later, adjacent property owner Kimberly Skelly said she and others were concerned about how the brewery could change the character of the surrounding area and filed objections with the ABC. She urged the council to file its own objection.

Skelly, who lives on a 7-acre horse farm neighboring the property to the west of the proposed brewery site, said at the June 25 Town Council meeting that the thought of parking 150 cars and bringing in upwards of 300 people to the proposed brewery makes it “impossible to demonstrate that that will not disturb my peace and tranquility nor devalue my farm as a small horse farm surrounded by other small horse farms—what I would consider appropriate use of this agricultural residential area.”

On Thursday, Town Attorney Martin Crim said the state allows any locality to comment on a proposed ABC license—whether the issuing of that license would create a health, safety or moral issue for town residents.

According to a July 9 staff report, town leaders aren’t just concerned about how the brewery owners Scott Buzzelli and Brian Yarnal represented their neighbors’ feelings in their initial meeting, but also about how their presentation lacked details and how the brewery might affect area public safety and traffic and quality of life.

Councilwoman Cindy Pearson said the town needs to consider how the proposed brewery might impact traffic.

“We need to be concerned about our town’s citizens and how this affects us and them,” she said.

Littleton said the Town of Middleburg has a strong business community and a great relationship with it. He said the town government needs to foster that community in the right way and not become hostile toward bringing in “the right type of businesses.” Fueled Farm Brewery would not be located within the town’s corporate limits.

“We do have to be very, very careful,” Littleton said.

Littleton and Town Manager Danny Davis will draft the letter and show it to council members before sending it to ABC early next week.

As for the objections to ABC, Public Relations Manager Dawn Eischen said ABC is in the process of submitting feedback to its Hearings Division, which will determine if a hearing is necessary. She said that if a hearing is scheduled, ABC will set up an informal conference with Buzzelli and Yarnal and the Skellys, along with anyone else who files an objection to the Fueled Farm project. At the hearing, an ABC officer will review the submitted information, hear each side and make a decision on whether or not the state should issue the brewery an ABC license. Buzzelli and Yarnal may appeal that decision if it’s not in their favor.

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