Brewery Changes on Tap

Brewery Changes on Tap

Planning drafts zoning amendment.

There is increasing interest in Fairfax County in opening breweries for craft beer that might also serve beer and food.

For example, Scott Adams, of Maguire Woods, has a client interested in potentially expanding and operating a craft-brew pub and tasting room out of former cell blocks or buildings of the D.C. Department of Corrections’ Lorton Prison.

The county is currently stirring the perfect mix for its new proposed zoning ordinance amendment on craft beverage production establishments; debating such issues as whether 15,000 or 20,000 barrels of beer can be brewed on site, or whether on-site tasting rooms can be included to production activities or whether “production activities shall be the accessory to the onsite tasting room.”

Because of increased interest from businesses seeking opportunities in Fairfax County, the Board of Supervisors directed planning staff to research and prepared the zoning amendment that “adds food and beverage manufacturing, production and processing establishments” as a by right use in industrial zoning districts.

The Planning Commission will hold a decision-only hearing on the amendment on Jan. 26.

“The amendment itself is rather easy,” said At-large Planning Commissioner James Hart. “The decisions on the options are more difficult.”

The Board of Supervisors is currently scheduled to hold a public hearing on Feb. 28 at 4 p.m.

“Despite the relatively low number of existing breweries within the county, staff has received inquiries from small-scale breweries considering locations within the county,” said Andrew Hashour of the Department of Planning and Zoning, who prepared the report for the commission’s public hearing on Jan. 12.

“According to the ABC’s license database, there are currently seven establishments with active brewery licenses within the county. Three of these are operating as eating establishments with accessory brewing.

“Of the four breweries that are not associated with an eating establishment, one is operating at the lowest level production license from the ABC (a maximum of 500 barrels annually) and three are operating at the mid-level license (501-10,000 barrels annually).”

Adams’ client believes it needs to operate at the highest producing license in the long-run to be successful.

LORTON PRISON was rezoned so the reformatory portion (buildings, dormitories) can be used for the development of 352-364 dwelling units.

The former penitentiary portion, 15.99 acres, was rezoned to use up to 110,000 square feet for new and adaptive reuse development, according to Planning Commission documents.

“The penitentiary portion includes 15 structures including cell blocks, towers and a dining hall. Most of the structures are proposed to remain on-site and to be adaptively reused,” according to Planning Commission documents.

“This is a public private partnership between Fairfax County and the applicant,” said Adams, who requested a slight amendment for minimum required yard setbacks to the Final Development Plan for the 74.41-acre Laurel HIll Adaptive Reuse Development before the Planning Commission on Wednesday, Jan. 11.