Permits for brewpub endorsed

Monarch Brewing Company owner Matt Miller told the Monticello Planning and Zoning Board Monday that he wants to place a restaurant and small brewery in the current Monticello United Methodist Church building, which he intends to purchase.

“We are shooting for an upscale restaurant,” said Miller, “maybe along the lines of Destihl in Champaign or J.T. Walker’s in Mahomet.”

His wife will also move her consulting business into the classroom portion of the structure. The UMC congregation is moving to a new building that is nearing completion on the east side of Monticello.

The PZB approved a pair of conditional use permits needed to help Monarch meet zoning codes for the building at 212 S. Independence St. The first would allow three main uses on one lot zoned for business. The other allows manufacturing in a business zone.

The amount of manufacturing will be small at first, said Miller. The brewery will be located in the basement and include a 3 1/2-barrel system, enough to produce seven kegs at a time.

“It’s pretty small,” he added, noting that many microbreweries range between 15 and 50 barrels. Beer produced there will initially be available only on site, with no wider distribution planned at this time.

An 80-seat restaurant will dominate the upstairs sanctuary and overflow area. Miller said it could probably accomodate 130 to 140 diners, but that he wanted to begin with a more manageable number.

Other craft beers will also be available at the restaurant. Miller expects to have 10 full-time employees.

PZB members voted 5-0 to approve both conditional use requests, with abstentions from UMC church members Marthaan Riegal and Gerald Day.

Day and Riegal still expressed their support, with Riegal commenting, “I think it’s a nice use for the church.”

The issue now goes to the city council for its consideration. If approved, Miller hopes to be open in early 2017.

His original plans were to focus more on beer manufacturing and distribution, but market research convinced him there was more of a need for a sitdown restaurant in Monticello.

The PZB also endorsed a variance at 4002 Applewood Drive to allow for reduced setbacks on a home being built by Tim Harman. Due to the shape of the lot, setbacks were approved at 26 feet on the northeast side and 23 feet, 6 inches on the northwest side, less than the zoning code’s 30 feet. That request also goes to the city council next for consideration.


 

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