Berlin Planning Commission Approves Brewery Silo

BERLIN – The town’s planning commission approved a proposal for a grain silo at a local brewery.

The Berlin Planning Commission last week voted 6-0 to approve a site plan for a grain silo at Burley Oak Brewing Co. The commission approved the plan but limited grain deliveries to six a year because of traffic concerns.

“It’s a health and safety thing,” commission member Ron Cascio said.

Burley Oak’s Matt Burrier approached the commission last Wednesday seeking approval for plans to add a silo to the front of the Burley Oak facility. A text amendment approved by municipal officials last year allows grain silos not exceeding 35 feet as a special exception use on properties zones commercially as part of a brewery operation.

Burrier said the concept the brewery talked about when that text amendment was proposed was the same one he was presenting to the commission last week. He said the only change was that the silo, which was initially planned for the rear of the property, was now planned for the front of the property. It will be installed in front of the beer garden space. Burrier said it was the same type of silo that many brewery operations had throughout the country.

He said it would likely be beige or brown and would feature the Burley Oak tree logo.

According to Burrier the silo had been repositioned at the front of the building because the brewery’s driveway couldn’t accommodate the grain truck.

“Basically we would have this filled three to four times a year,” he said, adding that the truck would be on Old Ocean City Boulevard while a hose was used to move the grain into the silo.

Burrier said the deliveries could be set up so they didn’t occur during times of heavy traffic on Old Ocean City Boulevard.

“It’ll be less of an intrusion than what we’re currently doing with the grant because now we’re getting it probably twice a month if not more,” he said, adding that the truck parked on the road while a forklift was used to move pallets containing bags of grain to the brewery.

Cascio said he understood there would be fewer deliveries but still had traffic concerns.

“It’s still not a good situation,” he said, adding that if the brewery started brewing more it could need more than three to four deliveries a year.

Commission member Chris Denny asked if the commission could limit the number of deliveries. Staff said it could.

Commission member Matt Stoehr said he felt what was proposed was an 80%

Improvement over the current situation.

Cascio maintained that the road would only get busier in the future. Commission member Pete Cosby suggested the business might be getting too big for its site. He said he’d heard complaints from Graham Avenue residents regarding the music at the brewery, which now planned to add a silo.

“You’re right next to a residential neighborhood,” he said. “You’ve got to show some respect for people in their homes … I want you in Berlin but there comes a time this may not be the right place.”

Other commission members expressed concern about the amount of signage that could be added to the silo. They said they didn’t want to see more than the Burley Oak logo and did not want to see lighting on the silo.

When asked if the brewery had considered bollards to protect the silo from vehicles, Burrier said it wouldn’t be located in a place where it should be at risk for getting hit.

The commission voted 6-0 to approve the site plan for the silo but with a limit of six deliveries of grain a year. The commission also asked that the logo planned for the silo be submitted for email approval by the group.

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.