Bucks County Herald- “Changes Proposed for West End”

Gerry Monigan: New Hope Notebook

Change proposed for West End

Click to enlarge

Proposed restaurant and distillery for West End Farm.

The latest project proposed by Frank Cretella's Landmark Development is to convert West End Farm, across the street from Phillips’ Mill, into a distillery, tasting room and small restaurant. To that end, Landmark, which recently rehabbed Hotel du Village and has big plans for the Logan Inn, has met three times with local residents. Project manager Gabriel Bailer said the plan has been updated after each meeting, seeking to address the residents' concerns. Bailer said the next step is to appear before the Solebury Zoning Hearing Board, seeking a use permit to operate a distillery; the hearing should be held in January. According to a booklet compiled after the third meeting: The design is “respectful to the community, the historic values of the Phillips’ Mill district and to the West End Farm Barns ... Anybody could see from driving past West End Farm that it is in seriously poor condition both from the aesthetics and, more importantly, structurally. We will restore this building to HARB standards and hopefully create thriving businesses within.” The plan calls a distillery “new modern agriculture; we’ll be using local products from Bucks County farmers to produce our distilled liquors.” It also involves a program Landmark calls H.U.G. (Help Us Give), which would take 10 percent of the revenue generated from three of the venue's top tables and use it to support neighborhood causes, in this case the Primrose Creek Watershed Association and the Phillips’ Mill Community Association. The distillery would operate 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The restaurant would run Tuesday through Friday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday noon to 11 p.m.; Sunday noon to 10 p.m. The bar and tasting room would be on the same schedule as the restaurant. The restaurant would be “fine dining with an emphasis on food pairings and using local farm ingredients.” It would have a rustic look, not a white-tablecloth type. Using traffic counts provided by the state Department of Transportation, Landmark estimates 37 “vehicle trips” Monday through Thursday nights; 67 on Friday and Saturday nights; 27 on Sunday nights; and 45 during Saturday and Sunday brunch. There would be approximately two delivery days per week for the distillery and restaurant, predominately box trucks, between 9 a.m. and noon. The delivery entrance would be away from residences. There would be no outdoor performance stage for live or amplified music. Indoor music would be “jazz or other soft music, primarily during weekends.” The restaurant would have no outside dining, and entrances and exits would be in the front of the building, by River Road, designed to limit noise in the lobby. There would be only a slight aroma from the distillation process, similar to a bakery, but faint. There would be no loud noise; distillation would be within the barn, with the walls insulated for climate-control barrel aging. HVAC units would be screened and landscaped, as far as possible from local residences and selected for the lowest possible noise. Landmark has “tested the water quality, volume and capacity.” It is estimated the distillery would use 137 gallons of water per day to produce 20,000 gallons of liquor per year. Total water usage per year would be 552,096 gallons, which is the equivalent of 3.8 homes. West End Farm currently uses an estimate of 440,840 gallons per year, the equivalent of three homes. There would be no horses or other farming operations on the property. “We feel that, working with the community, we've come up with the best concept plan,” Bailer said. “We've gotten a lot of positive feedback, and we feel confident that we can show the township that this will be a real benefit to the neighborhood without a negative impact.”