BERLIN – Plans for a new distillery on Old Ocean City Boulevard received approval from municipal officials this week.
The Berlin Planning Commission on Wednesday approved a site plan for Forgotten 50 Distilling on Old Ocean City Boulevard. The distillery will be located in the former Chesapeake Utilities property near the American Legion.
“They’re going to remodel the building,” Planning Director Dave Engelhart said. “They have already done a lot of remodeling inside to get ready for proposed use as a distillery and a tasting room out front.”
Engelhart said the distillery, which is not changing the building’s footprint, will feature roughly a 2,200-square-foot tasting room and a 2,300-square-foot distilling area. There will also be a small outdoor seating area on the east side of the building.
He added that the project had received approval for a parking variance from the town’s board of appeals. The town code would have required 34 spaces for the building. The Maryland State Highway Administration, however, is eliminating much of the existing parking in front of the building in order to install curbing at the entrance. Because of the mandated entrance changes, the board of appeals approved a variance that will require the business to have just 25 parking spaces.
“It’s a State Highway road and right-of-way so they had a lot of input,” Engelhart said.
Eric Fiori of EJF Real Estate said that the project’s rendering, which shows parking spaces in front of the business, would be redone to reflect the changes required by the State Highway Administration (SHA).
“The idea was to add some green space after they pulled the parking out of the front,” he said.
Steve Engel of Vista Design added that part of the SHA improvements included the addition of a sidewalk in front of the property.
When asked about the project’s timeline, Fiori said improvements would begin as soon as approval was received.
“We’re pretty much ready to go,” he said.
The building features classic red brick columns that match the pillars inside the building. When asked about fencing, Fiori said the existing white fence would be removed, but that decorative wrought iron fence would be installed.
The commission voted unanimously to approve the site plan.