Nanobrewery Siting comes to a head at Swarthmore ZHB Hearing

Note;  I have been involved with this issue for a while.



Nanobrewery Siting Comes To a Head at Swarthmore ZHB Hearing

By Robert Small


On Tuesday, May 22, the Swarthmore Zoning Hearing Board hosted an overflow crowd that spilled out from the Council Room into the atrium of Borough Hall.


Attracting the crowd was the board’s hearing on the application by the newly-formed Swarthmore Beer Company for a zoning variance which would allow it to open a nanobrewery* at 620 Yale, currently home of the long-established Swarthmore Collision Center. For many years, Swarthmore Collision Center has been permitted to operate in a non-conforming use variance, because it was established at the site before residential zoning was applied to the neighborhood for years.


The Swarthmore Beer Company would share the property with the continued operation of the Swarthmore Collision Center. The beer company’s representatives said that they would only use a small part of the body shop. Their enterprise would only consist of brewing – an activity seemingly so different from the existing business as to run afoul of state law prohibiting two variances on one property. [JOHN: is this correctly stated?]


Though there was some support for this new variance among Swarthmore residents who spoke at the hearing, there was also opposition by other neighbors who want their neighborhood to remain residential. Several said they couldn’t imagine this variance being proposed in any other Swarthmore residential neighborhoods. Issues of increased pedestrian and foot traffic and an increased need for parking were not addressed by the pro-SBC side.


It was explained that the “Biddle Tract controversy”, prevented the Swarthmore Beer Company from locating in the Swarthmore business district, though they could also open up their nanobrewery in Morton, which some believe would be a much more welcoming location.


The meeting went on from 8 to 9:30 p.m., with many persons getting their say before the hearing was continued until Tuesday, June 26 at 7:15 p.m. The attorney for The Swarthmore Beer Company  has a June 1 deadline to file a brief with the ZHB, summarizing the case for a “piggyback” variance. The Board will consider the issues and arguments, meet again at 7 p.m. on the 26th, then announce its judgment publicly at 7:15.



About bobsmall1

Bob Small has read at Bacchanal, Barnes and Noble, Borders, The Booksource (Swarthmore), The Clark Park Festivals,Community College of Philadelphia Highwire Gallery, The Mad Poets Annual Food Fest Reading, The Middle East Restaurant, Nexus GalleryThe Painted Bride Arts Center, The Philadelphia Ethical Society, Robin's Bookstore The University of Pennsylvania and also in New York City, Trenton, NJ, Washington, DC, and in many Delaware Valley Venues. He is the author of numerous chapbooks, including El Otro Lado (with Maralyn Lois Polak), On watching America Die, Small Steps and Toes (with Lamont B. Steptoe), and The Unapoet. This is his first Reading in over a year. Bob Small was Founder and President of the two decades old Poets and Prophets, which presented Poetry Readings in both Delaware County and Philadelphia. Bob was the Chair of The Delaware County Green Party and was the First Green Party Candidate in Delaware County (2005). He was also a Green Party National Delegate, among other duties. He is the Founder and Facilitator of The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition (PaBac), which is a Coalition of both Independents and Third Parties., seeking to legislatively improve Pennsylvania's Ballot Access Laws. (Facebook) Bob is also a founding member and Facilitator of Democracy Unplugged, and Delco Debates, which has presented Independent and Third Party Forums in Delaware County since 2004. Facebook) He was formerly involved with Cinema Resistance, and Delco Pledge of Resistance. Bob currently lives in Swarthmore with his wife and their menagerie of animals. He is currently focused on writing a Novel and organizing his Poetry, which he posts on his Blog (Bob Small1). He is retired from most of the above activities, except Delco Debates and Poets and Prophets, which he may return to.
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1 Response to Nanobrewery Siting comes to a head at Swarthmore ZHB Hearing

  1. ronald p ippolito says:

    Bob Small represents one of the reasons Swarthmore Village will never prosper again. He is against anything good for the community unless he benefits from it.

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