On Tap: Newton City Council approves brewery ordinance

In the mood for an Allen House Ale? How about some Waban Whiskey or Matt Damon Hard Cider?

Craft breweries and distilleries have been popping up all over Greater Boston in recent years, and now Newton can cash in on the craft cocktail craze. The City Council passed a resolution allowing breweries and distilleries to set up shop in the city, after some delay over parking.

This summer, Newton City Councilor Richard Lipof introduced the measure to fix a century-old Prohibition-era ban on alcoholic beverage concoction in the city.

But not so fast. The original draft of the ordinance had parking requirements, and those requirements were removed, but some people wanted parking requirements.

Lipof on Monday said that after speaking with City Councilor Leonard Gentile, who had spoken with people in the Planning Department, they decided to compromise.

“As I understood it, it basically cut in half what had originally come out of parking,” Gentile said.

The original ordinance required:

  • One parking space for every 500 square feet of building space.
  • One parking space for every five patron seats.
  • One parking space for every four employees.

The City Council compromised with an amendment requiring:

  • One parking space for every 1,000 square feet of building space.
  • One parking space for every 10 patron seats.
  • One parking space for every for every eight employees.

So why the big change in parking requirements? Lipoff said he spoke with people at the Planning Department who suggested making the parking requirement “less onerous.”

“It’ll still trigger this coming up for a special permit,” Lipoff said. “As I’ve said to everybody, we waive them always for restaurants with liquor licenses because most of them don’t have on-site parking. I’m trying to give people a level of comfort, and that’s what this is about.”

The parking requirement motion passed unanimously, and immediately afterward the main ordinance passed unanimously as well.