Planning commission recommends brewery to council

STRASBURG – The Strasburg Planning Commission voted Tuesday to recommend Town Council approve a special-use permit from two local businessmen proposing to build a brewery across the street from Town Hall.

Speaking to the commission and a hefty crowd of townsfolk who came out to the public hearing, Tom Price shared his vision of Valley Pike Brewhouse, which he would run with his business partner, Karl Roulston.

The proposed business would span from 175 King St. through 179 King St. The back section, which stretches out to the town lot, would be used as the brewery while the front would be used for seating, food and live music.

“We want to be a part of the downtown revitalization,” Price said. “We soon hope that we can restore this 100-year-old structure across the street into a vibrant, family oriented community gathering place that it once was back in the 1900s. And we truly believe that it will provide a major economic stimulus that’s needed for our downtown.”

Following the presentation, the response from the public was overwhelmingly positive.

Matt Clem, a Strasburg man (and Price’s cousin) who is working on opening a brewery in Maurertown, said the brewery is an excellent idea because the economic effects of it would ripple throughout the town, beyond just owners and employees.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea for Strasburg,” he said. “… The economic benefits to the town cannot be overstated.”

Councilwoman Barbara Plitt, speaking as a citizen, said the building would be a great use of the now-vacant Strand Theatre, which was a gathering place and live theater for the town about 1920.

“I just think that’s a fabulous use for that particular building because it doesn’t call for many other options,” she said. “I think it would be a good, positive thing for downtown.”

Michelle Sheetz, who owns Iron Rose next door, said she thought the added foot traffic to Strasburg’s downtown area would do good things for her business as well.

However, the response was not entirely positive. Nancy Balavage, who owns Lydia’s Clothes Basket, said while she doesn’t oppose the idea, she thinks it will force her store aside from space she had been using, and that she would need to relocate or close.

“I have no objection to the brewery going in, but I’m saddened that it’s going to take half of our space,” she said. “I don’t know where we’re going to relocate, and I don’t want to close our business.”

That said, Councilman Scott Terndrup, Planning and Zoning Administrator Wyatt Pearson, and Price all agreed they would work with Balavage to help relocate or find a way to keep her shop as is.

Town Council will host another public meeting at its work session at 7 p.m. Oct. 3 at 174 E. King St., Strasburg, before voting on the matter at its October meeting.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com.