By Scott Sullivan
The Saugatuck Township Planning Commission has deferred granting special approval use for a brewery, restaurant and live-music venue on 2.769 acres at 6425 Blue Star Hwy. pending receipt of more information.
Saugatuck resident David Rodriguez, working with Holland Engineering, is proposing the development just southwest of the Blue Star/135th Avenue intersection. He hopes to present revised plans in early 2023.
The business would be on C-1 Commercial flat land partially occupied by Ihle’s Auto Service, NAPA Auto Parts store and Dv8 Motorcycle service center. Commission chair David Ihle has recused himself from deliberations. The space, which includes pavement and gravel for existing parking, has been used for car shows and sales too.
All existing uses, per the project narrative, would remain, with car sales scaled down and fence encolosed north of the present building.
Rodriguez bills himself on linkedin.com as an independent brewer and consultant who has worked as Saugatuck Brewing Co. production manager, plus head brewer at Enix Brewing in Homestead, Pa. and Mad Brewing in Madrid, Spain.
He attended the University of Michigan, earned a 2001 bachelor of arts degree in music production from Evergreen State College and studied brewing at Siebel Institute of Technology.
Rodriguez envisions a 40×75-foot brewery building, 40×75-foot beer garden and 40×100-foot pavilion adjacent on the east portion of the parcel.
There, per narrative presented the township Aug. 19, would lie a building with outdoor brewery and beer garden used for social gatherings and entertainment with family-friendly atmosphere.
Other onsite improvements may include outdoor games and activities (e.g. cornhole, shuffleboard, etc.), fire pits and/or gas lamps, music entertainment area and other gathering spaces. Outdoor food service would be provided by truck vendors, live music, based on customer demand, on weekends mainly.
“Although this music would be amplified, it is meant to be background music so that people could still socialize, and therefore, noise beyond the property limits would be minimal,” says the narrative.
Planners have asked to clarify, if not amplify, what that means.
The site’s proposed use could support “approximately 100-150 customers,” the the initial narrative goes on, with access for 35 cars from a drive off Blue Star plus a bicycle path that fronts the space.
It would be served by public water and sanitary sewer, “so potential for groundwater contamination (in accord with the Groundwater Protection Overlay Zone as there exists) is minimal.” The business would be open Tuesdays through Sundays roughly from noon until 10 p.m.
Township engineer Prein & Newhof wrote planners Sept. 20 its main concerns are the proposed 230-foot-wide nonconforming driveway shared with car-motorcycle shops and shared-use path safety. Township planner Lynee Wells also questioned parking adequacy and advised the commission it might want more details before it weighed final. use.
Rodriguez presented planners a revised proposal Oct. 24. Members approved the use on conditions it meet township planner, engineer, Kalamazoo Lake Sewer & Water Authority and Saugatuck Township Fire District approvals before his next presentation.
The Blue Star commercial stretch near the proposed brewery has drawn other interest lately.
• California-based Autocamp is seeking rezoning and a special approval use for a 112-site campground with 6,000-square-foot clubhouse, small market store, pool, hot tubs, spa or sauna and group gathering space on 29.24 acres owned by Chard Van Horn northwest of the highway where it veers further southwest at Holland Street,
The firm too has presented planners revised versions of its larger, more complex project, and is due back early next year, township manager Daniel DeFranco said.
• Holland Hospital has been granted special use and conditional site plan approval for a 16,352-square-foot health and human service building on 3.11 acres at 3500 Blue Star.
It will have entrance/exits for 60 parking spaces north onto Blue Star and south at 135th Aveue.