Planning Commission Gives Green Light to Ridgway Microbrewery
by Christina Callicott
Mar 31, 2008 | 867 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MICROBREWERY - The Ridgway Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of a conditional use permit to the Ridgway Town Council to Tom and Sandy Hennessy to turn the Sherbino Building at 602 W. Clinton St. into a microbrewery. (Photo by Jeff Hunt)
MICROBREWERY - The Ridgway Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of a conditional use permit to the Ridgway Town Council to Tom and Sandy Hennessy to turn the Sherbino Building at 602 W. Clinton St. into a microbrewery. (Photo by Jeff Hunt)
RIDGWAY – Got a hankering for a locally brewed beer and a nice place to sit down and enjoy it? Ouray residents can stroll down to the Ouray Ale House for theirs, but so far Ridgway residents have been out in the cold.

That could soon change. At their meeting on Tuesday, March 25, the Ridgway Planning Commission recommended approval of a conditional use permit for Tom and Sandy Hennessy to turn part of the Sherbino Building into a microbrewery and tasting room.

“I’m trying to come up with a business that I know how to do but where I won’t be competing with anyone,” Hennessy said. Hennessy is the founder of the Palisade Brewery, located near Grand Junction.

The new brewery and tasting room will be situated in the corner retail space of the Sherbino Building, located at 602 Clinton Street; the theater will not be affected. Limited by the unit’s space, Hennessy said that he can brew a maximum of seven barrels, or 14 kegs, worth of beer per week. He projects that actual sales, at least in the near future, would be three kegs per week out of the tasting room, which will seat 18 people.

While the permit triggered a technical issue regarding parking, staff and council identified no other problems with the application. Town engineer Joanne Fagan requested that Hennessy fill out a wastewater questionnaire to identify what amount and type of discharge the operation will create. Hennessy said that one byproduct of his operation would be 200 to 300 pounds of malted barley per week, which he hopes will become feed for local cattle.

The permit application states that brewing will occur once a week during the day. There may be a small odor associated with the process, “exactly like a bowl of hot Malto-Meal,” the application states, that should be noticeable only for a couple of hours a week. Leftover yeast from the process can be fed to cattle as well.


Tuesday’s meeting saw the last of four scheduled discussions regarding incorporated and unincorporated areas northwest of Ridgway. Commissioners and town staff presented planning consultants with more feedback regarding street layout, access to Amelia Street, bike paths, and green corridors. Commissioner Jack Petrucelli emphasized his desire for a bike and pedestrian corridor linking the elementary and secondary schools. Commissioner Bill Liske suggested the importance of a soils analysis due to the presence of what he called “expansive” soils in the area.

Discussion of density raised some comments from the public. Andy Mueller suggested planning for very high-density development but using less of the space available.

“Otherwise, we’re going to end up with the entire valley floor annexed, and that’s part of what we’re trying to preserve,” he said.

Commissioner Chris Whaling responded. “It comes down to what size town do we want at the end of the day? Do we want to be as big as Montrose? It’s a big philosophical question.”

Ridgway resident Brian Peters suggested a longer-term perspective. “We’ve talked in the master plan about 10 to 15 years in the future,” he said. “But the reality is that this area is going to continue to grow 50 or 100 years into the future.”

Chris Chaffin of Chaffin Light and Associates, who hired the Design Workshop Group to facilitate area planning, agreed to sponsor one more planning meeting in the hopes of coming up with a workable “product” to present to the planning commission at their next meeting. Commissioners John Clark and Ellen Hunter were skeptical that any conclusions would come out of another meeting, but nevertheless one was scheduled for April 15. Details will be announced.


Construction of the Silver San Juan Building at 630 and 640 Sherman Street should be nearly complete by the end of April, said owner and developer Roger Schafer. The building, situated at the corner of Sherman and S. Cora streets, comprises two storefronts. A tavern will occupy the east end of the ground floor, with possible retail space on the west end. A second floor is made up of office or residential units, while a third story on the west end will be a 2,359-square-foot penthouse space.

The planning commission recommended approval of the building’s final plat as well as a condominium subdivision for the space. Discussion of the proposal focused on changing the second-story units from offices to live/work or residential units. While commissioners mostly liked the idea of residential use of the building, the change warranted discussion on parking requirements. It was resolved that the provided parking was sufficient for residential purposes, though the commission directed Schafer to pursue more off-site parking for the tavern.


The planning commission also recommended approval of the subdivision of units D and E of Ridgway Village West, located at 540 and 550 Redcliff Circle. The commission directed the developers to deal with landscaping and drainage issues as soon as possible, weather permitting, based on concerns with noxious weeds as well as with erosion due to spring runoff.

Developer John Dwight said he plans to break ground on the next phase of the project, which includes three more buildings, as soon as the current units are sold.

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