Arlington Heights trustees: Not enough parking at proposed microbrewery
While Arlington Heights village board members are pleased with the latest concept for what would become the village's first microbrewery and taproom, they say the plans don't come with enough parking.
Proprietors behind Arlington Beer Company want to open a taproom/bar and event space in a two-story building at 19 N. Hickory Ave. It would also come with an outdoor patio, while beer would be brewed in a separate one-story building at the back of the site.
Based on the size of the development proposal, village officials say at least 52 parking spaces would be needed. Since no parking is provided on the site plans, the village board would have to approve a variation.
During an unofficial early review of the plans Monday night, board members all expressed concern with the lack of parking. Some suggested the taproom owners work out deals with nearby business owners to use their lots and coordinate with the neighboring Knights of Columbus Hall so two large events aren't happening at once.
"Until 6 or 7 o'clock at night, you're going to be competing not just with the (Beverly Lanes) bowling alley and Knights, but the use at park district facilities," said Trustee Richard Baldino, who lives a few blocks away. "I do think parking is going to be an evolving problem there. I am willing to talk about exceptions to the ordinance as it stands, but the parking is going to be the thing."
Kathleen Egan, the Arlington Beer Company owner who also runs Itasca Brewing Co., said her business leases a lot from neighboring business in Itasca and would be willing to do the same in Arlington Heights.
"The onus is on us. We'll figure it out," Egan said. "We know more so than ever we need to come up with a parking plan."
Egan suggested patrons could park not only on Hickory but also a block away on Douglas Avenue -- and the business would advertise as much on its website. She also said she hopes people would use ride-sharing services, ride bicycles and walk.
Egan came to village officials in 2014 about opening her business, but breweries weren't allowed under village code until rules were changed last year.
The latest floor plans submitted to the village in January show a much larger retail sales and consumption area than first proposed, while the brewery itself is scaled back and located in the separate accessory building entirely.
Under the new plan, 42 percent of the total floor area would be devoted to retail sales of beer, though the new rules approved recently restrict it to 10 percent. That would require another variation.
Some trustees expressed openness to what Egan said has been an evolving plan based on the changing microbrewing industry, but Mayor Tom Hayes sought at least some smaller proposal that wouldn't require as large of a variation.
"It would help partially alleviate some of the parking issues," he said.