Zoners approve deck, extended hours for Nod Hill Brewery
Nod Hill Brewery will be open longer, and with a new deck planned for the site, after the Planning and Zoning Commission approved a special permit application Tuesday night.
“The applicant would like the ability to have the same hours as any other bar or restaurant,” said attorney Bob Jewell, who represents Nod Hill.
Jewell said the brewery’s current hours of operation — Thursdays, Fridays, and weekend evenings and afternoons — were a concession made when the business was first proposed.
“When we came in with this, there were all these crazy things like ‘Oh, it’s going to smell like Milwaukee,’” Jewell said.
The commissioners voted to allow the brewery to operate during the hours allowed by the state.
“Why would we limit [hours]? Why would we try to be the moral police?” Commissioner John Katz asked.
According to the state's Department of Consumer Protection, the hours a brewery taproom may operate are the same as any other bar in the state.
Speaking to The Press on Wednesday, April 18, co-owner Robert Kaye said the Brewery would expand it's hours to Thursdays: 4 to 9 p.m.; Fridays & Saturdays: 12 to 9 p.m.; and Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.
The commission also approved the special permit’s original intent — a 12- by 13-foot deck that, when added on to the existing loading dock area, will give the brewery an additional 228 square feet of seating room.
Jewell said the addition will require an amendment to the brewery’s liquor license to approve the outdoor sale of alcohol.
Co-owner Robert Kaye estimated the addition would allow the business to add 12 more seats.
“We are hoping to enclose that area in the wintertime,” Kaye said. “I’d like to put an awning on it during the summer and then enclose it during the winter.”
He said the enclosed deck would be heated in the wintertime, though not air-conditioned in the summer, and that the heaters would be infrared.
The commision agreed to allow the deck to be enclosed with removable siding from Oct. 1 through June 1.
"For me it's more the experience of our patrons," Kaye told The Press over the phone on Wednesday, April 18. "With the warmer weather coming — eventually — I think it's going to be a good advancement for the town."
The only request that gave the commission pause was Kaye’s suggestion that he would like to hold live music events on the deck — something which would also require an amendment to his liquor license.
The commissioners indicated that live music on the deck should be brought to a public hearing, though Fossi pointed out that the Brewery’s closest neighbors have a mountain between them. But Planning and Zoning director Richard Baldelli urged caution, “I would just ask you to think of other situations where we changed the hours of operation,” he said, including the Silver Spring Country Club’s paddle board court, which has drawn the opposition of neighbors.
The planners also agreed to allow the brewery to have an illuminated sign out front, so long as it is not larger than two square feet.
Jewell said that despite trepidation around the idea of a brewery in Ridgefield, “It’s turned out to be a resounding success.”