Members of Wilmington's Planning Commission decided to hold off on passing a list of changes to the city's definition of breweries - which would ultimately make it easier for small brewers to set up shop in Wilmington.
This proposal comes in response to requests from various craft brewers who have run into roadblocks when trying to build outside the industrial districts.
Craft brewing is a growing business sector nationally, and a proven means of economic development across North Carolina; however, within city limits, breweries are currently only permitted in the Land Development Code as "manufacturing industries."
The proposed changes would differentiate between small regional breweries and microbreweries with regard to the districts in which they could locate, and create a list of conditions for each.
The proposal seeks to accommodate and encourage this type of use and investment in Wilmington's commercial districts while also maintaining protection of lower-intensity commercial districts from large-scale industrial-type uses.
The amendment would not change the way the code treats large regional breweries and full scale national breweries.
These larger breweries would still need to be permitted as manufacturing industries.
The proposal simply would have made it easier to start breweries in places like downtown Wilmington.
P.J. Doherty is a representative for several local brewers and isn't happy about the delay.
"It's very frustrating and this is unfortunately the reputation that the city of Wilmington is earning by not being able to move business at the speed of business," said Doherty. "It's red tape, red tape, red tape and we continue to lose jobs because of this mentality."
The Planning Commission voted 5-1 to set a public workshop to iron out details at a future meeting in August.
Ultimately, a final decision on the proposed changes lies in the hands of the Wilmington City Council.
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