Berlin Brewery Expanding To Include Music Stage, Another Bar, More Seating

Berlin Brewery Expanding To Include Music Stage, Another Bar, More Seating

BERLIN – In spite of concerns about stormwater, town officials approved plans for an expansion of Burley Oak Brewing Company.

On Wednesday, the Berlin Planning Commission approved a site plan for an expansion of Burley Oak that would include the addition of a stage and more seating. Following the approval, however, commission members expressed frustration over the fact that the Burley Oak property had no stormwater plan whatsoever.

“There’s been nothing done for stormwater,” commission member Ron Cascio said. “I think it’s premature for us to approve a site plan without stormwater mitigation in place.”

Bryan Brushmiller, owner of Burley Oak Brewing Company, presented the commission with renderings of an expansion of his Old Ocean City Boulevard property. He plans to expand the existing outdoor seating area and erect a stage between the main brewery building and the nearby storage building. The front of that storage area will be turned into another bar while the back of the building will house the brewery’s canning operation.

“We’re retrofitting a building we’ve used for storage,” said Brushmiller. “We just need more room.”

Dave Engelhart, the town’s planning director, advised the commission to take into account the potential impacts the project could have. He pointed out there could be increased noise associated with the stage.

“I’m not saying it’s going to be a rowdy roadhouse but it’s stuff we need to consider,” he said.

Brushmiller said he’d had musicians perform outside in the past and was regularly in contact with the property’s neighbors. He added that he’d hired architect David Quillin because he’d worked on other projects where noise had been a concern.

“He knows how to reduce sound,” Brushmiller said, adding that Quillin would be designing the stage so that noise was pointed toward the “industrial area” across the street.

When Cascio asked about stormwater, Brushmiller pointed out he’d only be increasing impervious area by the size of the roof over the stage. Engelhart said that a stormwater plan would have to be submitted before Brushmiller received a building permit from the town.

Cascio said the site had never been subject to a stormwater review and pointed out that its gravel parking lot had been prone to flooding in the past. Brushmiller said that since the Maryland State Highway Administration had cleared out the ditches at the edge of the property flooding hadn’t been a problem.

“It’s been an unbelievable difference,” he said.

Commission member Pete Cosby praised the plans and asked whether Brushmiller had considered installing a play area for children who accompanied their parents to the brewery. Brushmiller said he had not, but added that he’d expanded the outdoor seating area because parents liked to sit outside with their children.

“They feel more comfortable with it being an outdoor setting,” he said.

Though the renderings showed the storage building with vinyl on its sides, Brushmiller agreed to use something more in keeping with the building’s rustic appearance.

Commission member Phyllis Purnell expressed concern about the fact that Burley Oak’s liquor license allowed for live entertainment seven days a week.

“Out of respect for the churches, I wouldn’t like to see loud music until after church services,” she said.

Brushmiller pointed out those church services featured live music.

“I don’t think you’ve ever heard it,” Purnell replied.


Rendering by David Quillin

Brushmiller agreed to ensure that Burley Oak’s outdoor music wouldn’t begin before noon on Sundays.

After the commission voted to approve Burley Oak’s site plan, Cascio asked Engelhart why the project didn’t have a stormwater plan on file. Though Engelhart said that the plan would have to be on file before a building permit was issued, Cascio pointed out that if stormwater mitigation was required, the approved site plan might not work.

“He’s got a fully occupied site with no place to put anything if needed which could create problems for him,” Cascio said.

Commission member Barb Stack agreed that stormwater was a concern.

“This site is like a concrete jungle except it’s not concrete,” she said. “This site is completely covered.”

Cascio maintained that he was uncomfortable approving site plans without stormwater management and said the information should be included as the commission considered plans.

Along with approval of Burley Oak’s site plan, on Wednesday the commission also approved plans for Shoreline Auto and Main Place. Shoreline Auto, the used car dealership previously located beside Arby’s, will be reestablished now that the adjacent developments are complete. Main Place, the medical office complex near Route 50, will be expanded to include an additional building. Developer Palmer Gillis said he planned to build a 6,000-square-foot shell and then find tenants. He said the parking and stormwater for the new building had been taken care of when the previous structures on the site were built.

“At the time we didn’t have any prospects for it,” he said. “Now we have several.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.