Commercial Record News

Township brewery review on tap

By Scott Sullivan
The Saugatuck Township Planning Commission Tuesday revisited site plans for a proposed new brewery at 6525 Blue Star Hwy. The meeting fell after this week’s deadline.
Saugatuck resident David Rodriguez, working with Holland Engineering, is proposing a brewery, restaurant and live-music venue on 3.06 C-1 Commercial acres between Ihle’s Auto Service and the 135th Avenue corner. Planning chair David Ihle has recused himself from discussions.
Rodriguez told the township Aug. 19 he proposed an outdoor brewery and beer garden serving entertainment for 100 to 150 guests in a family-friendly setting.
Other improvements might include cornhole and shuffleboard games, fire pits and/or gas lamps, music entertainment area and other spaces. Truck vendors could serve outdoor food, and a northeast side stage host live music based on customer demand, weekends mainly.
“Although this would be amplified,” Rodriguez said, “it is meant to be background music so people could still socialize and noise beyond property limits would be minimal.”
A 35-car lot would from a gravel drive off Blue Star, beside which a bicycle path runs also, plus public sewer and water would serve staff and customers. The business would be open Tuesdays through Sundays roughly from noon till 10 p.m.
Planners approved his revised proposal Oct. 24 on condition it meets township planner, engineer, Kalamazoo Lake Sewer & Water Authority and Saugatuck Township Fire District approvals.
Rodriguez is 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’s site plan review Feb. 21 drew commission concerns it did not meet township driveway, parking lot, landscape and drainage ordinances. Members tabled acting, asking he update plans accordingly, submit fire approvals, then present a revised final plan at their next month’s meeting.
Holland Engineering came back March 6 proposing 16 more shrubs and an ornamental tree as Blue Star buffers, fire and Allegan County Road Commission driveway OKs; revised curb and gutter.
A chain gate with two reflectors would be hung between poles to better delineate lot separation from Ihle’s. Lighting was also adjusted and a 5-foot-wide sidewalk added on the site’s north side.
The proposed 40×70-foot brewery building (see picture) would be augmented by a 38×68’ food service space. Unamplified live music would be offered only on weekends based on customer demand, “therefore noise beyond property limits would be minimal,” says HE’s narrative.
The stage would direct sound west so music would be buffered from commercial and residential neighbors by the proposed building.
The revised plan in full is available at township hall.

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