Ocean City Today

Town officials met with Burley

By Josh Davis | Sep 21, 2017
Photo by: Josh Davis / Ocean City Today Town of Berlin officials met with representatives from Burley Oak Brewing Company last week to discuss recent noise complaints and parking issues, as well as the need for three additional EDUs and, potentially, a pre-treatment system that would reduce pollution to town wastewater systems.

(Sept. 22, 2017) Several members of the Berlin Planning Commission, Wednesday night, expressed their displeasure with the way Burley Oak Brewing Company owner Bryan Brushmiller apparently handled a pair of stop-work orders.

He did not attend the meeting, although he was asked to do so. Planning Director Dave Engelhart said Brushmiller deviated from a site plan for a brewery expansion approved by the commission in April.

Berlin Mayor Gee Williams, reached for comment after the meeting, said town officials had a sit-down with Brushmiller on Sept. 13 to discuss several ongoing issues.

He said Town Attorney David Gaskill, Town Administrator Laura Allen, councilmen Dean Burrell and Thom Gulyas and several town department heads also attended, and additional representatives from Burley Oak also were present.

Williams said the discussion included the need for Brushmiller to purchase three additional EDUs, or equivalent dwelling units that measure water consumption, estimated to cost a total of $50,000. He hoped to resolve the matter within 30 days and said the town traditionally allows financing, provided a formal request is made before the town council.

“As the brewery has grown, which is a good thing, so has the consumption [of water],” Williams said. “What it’s based on is your average, and so it’s been long enough now that it’s clear the additional EDUs are needed to serve the brewery. Obviously, the brewing capacity has increased since it started.”

Other topics of discussion included wastewater concerns, parking issues and recent noise complaints.

“Jane Kreiter, the public works director, was doing testing of all the wastewater collection systems along Ocean City Boulevard and there appears to be higher level of pollutants in the wastewater nearest to the lift station where the brewery is,” Williams said. “She and Bryan are working together ... and they are trying to determine what pre-treatment, if any, may be necessary by the brewery so it does not have an adverse impact on our wastewater collection system.”

Williams said those discussions were preliminary and a potential cost was not clear, although he added, “I don’t think any solution is inexpensive.”

“From what limited knowledge I have, based on being a resident, a council member and then mayor, there is rarely any inexpensive solution,” he said. “Pre-treatment usually involves purchase of equipment onsite by the business to address the issue.”

He also said brewery customers were parking at Berlin Falls park after hours and the development of a parking policy was discussed that would ensure “the brewery and any other commercial enterprises [were] being treated the same.”

“Why restrict parking after hours when the park’s not in use, as long as the public is being fairly compensated,” Williams said.

As for the noise complaints, Williams said he and several council members received calls after Burley Oak held its first outdoor concert, last month.

He said he expected the Berlin Planning Commission to help resolve those issues, along with the matter of the expansion that was not in line with what the commission originally approved.

Williams said a letter about the complaints was sent this week to residents on Graham, Grice and Nelson streets and Franklin Avenue, encouraging anyone with concerns to “talk to Mr. Brushmiller directly.”

“That’s the way everything else in town works — if you have a problem, talk to your neighbor,” Williams said.

He said Brushmiller was also told police needed to be notified when outdoor, nighttime concerts would occur.

“In the case of this first nighttime concert, the police department didn’t know about it,” he said. “When it started out they were making a shift change and some officers were held and couldn’t leave and get to their off shifts, and other officers were brought on so crowd control and traffic control could be dealt with.

“It’s courtesy and common sense,” Williams added. “This is something you know is happening. It doesn’t just happen spontaneously, and we asked a Mr. Brushmiller to notify the police department well ahead of time — roughly 30 days or so.”

Williams added, “The mayor and council are not the planning commission and any issues with the planning commission need to be discussed directly with them.”

“Apparently that didn’t happen tonight,” Williams said.

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