Medina approves new regs for wineries

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 June 2014 at 12:00 am

Village wants to encourage wineries, microbreweries

Photo by Tom Rivers – Cindy Robinson, president of the Medina Business Association, speaks in favor of new regulations making it easier for wineries to open in the village’s business districts.

MEDINA – The Village Board approved new zoning regulations for wineries and microbreweries that are designed to encourage the operations in Medina while giving the village more oversight on the businesses.

The revised regulations state that wineries, breweries, distilleries, cideries and meaderies will all be allowed uses in the Downtown Historic District. The village doesn’t want to limit those businesses to the downtown. They would also be allowed in the General Business District as well as the Light Industrial and Industrial Zones.
The owners of the businesses will need to secure a Special Use Permit. That will give the village more say in the operations for odor, storage, noise and other issues.

The Village Board approved the new regulations in a 4-0 vote. Mayor Andrew Meier abstained from the vote and discussion about the issue. He owns 113 West Center St., the R.H. Newell building.

Larissa and Bryan DeGraw and their friend Morris Babcock are working to establish 810 Meadworks inside that building in Suite 1, where a barbershop was most recently located next to the Shirt Factory Café.

Mr. DeGraw addressed the board on Monday, urging the village to approve the new regulations. A meadery, which combines some of the arts of making wine and beer, also uses honey in its product. DeGraw believes the meadery will be a draw, bringing visitors to other businesses in the community.

Cindy Robinson, president of the Medina Business Association, spoke in favor of the new regulations, saying the microbreweries and wineries would make the downtown and business districts a bigger attraction.

Village Trustee Marguerite Sherman asked if the wineries could hurt other businesses by consuming too many of the parking spaces.

Robinson said the MBA puts on many events that draw hundreds and sometimes thousands of people to the downtown. Those visitors find spots to park.

“Parking won’t be a huge issue,” she said.

Martin Busch, the village code enforcement officer, said the size of the available downtown buildings will limit the size of the breweries and wineries. The village doesn’t have too many sites where the projects could work.

But there are some buildings that have potential for the projects. He sees them as a lift for the other downtown businesses by drawing young adults or “millennials.” Right now that age group is a coveted consumer.

“The millennials are not looking for the cookie-cutter product,” Busch said. “They want a real product and a microbrewery fits that.”

Busch said the village has several large municipal parking lots that can accommodate more customers for the downtown.

“They might have to walk a block,” he said. “The impact would be more foot traffic. You would have people walking by other businesses.”