Small craft brewery receives go-ahead

Published 9:38 am Saturday, November 19, 2022

Planning Commission questions parking, but allows first microbrewery

By Denise Strub

The Oxford Planning Commission has approved the plans for Circle and Square Brewing at 100 Depot St. across from the Courtyard Marriott on Jackson Ave.

This will be the first microbrewery in the city and under the guidance of Rick Hollander. 

According to the application, the small craft brewery “will operate a 7-barrel system with a total fermenting capacity of approximately 35 barrels and 8 serving tanks with approximately 8-12 taps running at all times.”

Most of the beer will be sold in the tap room. However 20 percent of what is made must be distributed according to state law.

The commission was told the location borders the University Depot, the Depot Trail, and the Ford Center, making it a great location as it is about a half mile from the closest residential home.

Commissioner Judy Riddell said she was concerned about parking as the plans included only 18 spots.

“You have only three spots designated for employees,” she said, adding the other 15 would be for the tap room guests

Hollander said he believed three spaces would be adequate for staff as one would be for the brewmaster and another for the prep cook.

“We’re not a restaurant so food will be very simple,” he said, adding if needed additional parking could be added at the side of the building.

The brewery will house a tap room with serving tanks housed in a cool room along with kegged beer.

The commission approved the requested variances subject to other staff conditions.

Also approved was a buffer variance for a residential apartment complex on the south side of Molly Barr Road, west of the multi-purpose Depot Trail.

The builders had been before the commission during the past year for a variance of the required 50-foot buffer, but were denied.

However after many discussions with commission staff, the architects requested a 25-foot structure and special exception to allow three-story buildings.

According to new documents, the proposed plan differs from what was previously considered in design by placing the 11 proposed 3-bedroom units on the west side of the property to minimize visual impacts to the trail. This was a concern that has been previously raised with the Faulkner Flats development on Old Taylor Road.

Of greatest concern to the commissioners on the Trailhead Development was parking. Discussion on the subject took most of the almost three hour meeting.

Commissioners were worried not enough parking had been planned for the 11 structures.

Also expressing concern about parking was attorney James Justice, who represented the Green Neighborhood Association, in which he lives.

“I’m worried our neighborhood will be the overflow,” he said, adding it already was overflow for university students, making it difficult for residents to get into and out of their driveways.

The Oxford Police Department recently announced it will be towing vehicles which are parked on the right-of-way between McElroy and Chickasaw.

Commissioners agreed to reduce the buffer as long as the extra space was only used to add additional parking spaces.

Included in the residential development are six parking spaces and a sidewalk from the parking lot to the Depot Trail; benches; bike racks; a pergola trailhead structure; and the sidewalk connection from CB Webb to the Depot Trail.