Board of Zoning Appeals has approved a variance which will allow Vern Brown,
owner of The Chesterton Brewery, to operate a distillery in the old
Westchester Lanes bowling alley, 124 N. Eighth St.
The board also
approved a special exception, which will allow the owner of the building,
Lukas Weldon, to rent storage space in the facility to the owners of RVs,
boats, and jet skis.
unanimously at their meeting Thursday evening to grant both the variance and
the special exception, although numerous conditions were attached to both.
itself will be run in the former lounge area of the building; the storage
space, in what used to be the bowling alley, whose lanes have long since
been stripped out. One of the conditions attached to the special exception:
that a three-hour rated firewall must be constructed separating the two
to the use variance include the following:
-- Brown must
obtain a distiller’s permit from both the State of Indiana and the federal
-- He must install
a spirit safe and may have no more than 120 gallons of spirit in the actual
distillery portion of the building at any one time; should he wish to store
an additional 120 gallons on site, he may only do so on the indoor storage
side of the building.
-- The motor and
switches for the still must be explosion proof.
-- The grinding,
milling, and storage of grains and cereals must be done on the indoor
-- Should the
distillery operation be closed for 90 consecutive days, the use variance
will terminate, unless that closure is mandated by local, state, or federal
to the special exception include the following:
-- A three-hour
rated firewall must be constructed separating the distillery from the indoor
-- Access to the
storage facility will be by appointment only.
-- No repair or
“hot” work will be permitted in the facility.
-- Gas tanks may
hold no more than 25 gallons of fuel, no bottled gases or propane tanks will
be permitted on site, and all vehicle batteries must be removed.
“I am generally
comfortable with the conditions,” Associate Town Attorney Julie Paulson
said. “I believe the department heads are generally comfortable with them as
Fire Chief John
Jarka concurred. “We’ve come to a very good understanding and I am
comfortable with these conditions,” he said.
“I think this is a
good location for this business,” Member Joel Carney remarked. “My concern
last month was that the department heads would be comfortable with the
“Mr. Brown came to
this community and was willing to take a chance opening his brewery,” Member
Jim Kowalski said. “I wish more people would give back to the community as
he has. I think this board wishes him every success.”