Small pizzas and beer are currently on the menu at a new outdoor restaurant that opened over the Memorial Day weekend according to its owner Jeff Curran who is also a self-employed landscaper. But soon this brewery now zoned to be a restaurant rather than a brewery will be serving breakfast said Jeff late last week. It’s located at 163 Washington Avenue on the east end of Portland.
And that location is a disadvantage for Curran he points out with an impressive knowledge of Portland’s city zoning regulations. Jeff explained it this way: his property located at 163 Washington Avenue is in the B-1 Neighborhood Business zone. A brewery with testing area is not permitted within this zone. According to a planning board document. “The existing B-1 zone is intended to provide limited areas for the location of small-scale commercial establishments…complimentary, quiet and generally do not disturb the comfort and enjoyment of the adjoining neighborhood…it should be noted that the B-1 business zone explicity encourages mixed-use buildings which allow for commercial development and high-residential density.” B-2 zoning which Jeff tried to change his brewery to was turned down by the city in 2019. That zone is reserved for commercial development – such as housing developments. Quoting from the city’s own document again, B-2 zoning “allows a broader range of commercial uses, ,such as retail and restaurant uses, as well as long-impact industrial uses including distilleries, and brewries by right……”
So, get this: Jeff’s beer is now imported. It is imported from Cape Elizabeth where it is distilled! That’s because beer can not be distilled in a B-1 Zone. It’s open Wednesday – Sunday from noon – 8:00 pm
Jeff has taken the matter into his own hands. He has filed an appeal in Superior Court to reverse the city’s decision not to grant him a map amendment from B-1 to B-2. Stay stuned.
It shouldn’t be a surprise; the city makes lots of unpopular decisions these days! Maybe real estate development is in their short-cited vision?