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Zoning-code change could let some Richland eateries produce, serve beer, wine

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A proposed amendment to Richland Township's zoning code would allow eating establishments in commercial districts to produce — as well as serve — beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages.

The proposed amendment also would permit — by special exception — the production and serving of beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages in neighborhood commercial districts.

“As long as they (the establishments) didn't exceed the gallon limits and square footage limitations in the ordinance,” said Dean Bastianini, manager of Richland Township.

No date has been set for a public hearing about the proposed amendment.

The Allegheny County Department of Economic Development first must review the possible rule change.

“Under state law, they're required to send it to us,” said Bob Hurley, deputy director of the Allegheny County Department of Economic Development. “The power to change the ordinance rests with the municipality. The county's review is strictly advisory.”

On Jan. 23, Richland supervisors authorized Charles Means, township solicitor, to forward the proposed amendment to the county for review.

“The county planning department has 45 days to review and comment on it,” Bastianini said. “Then a public hearing will be scheduled. Following the public hearing, the board would vote on the ordinance to amend the zoning code.”

Matt Hough of McCandless applied for the amendment by submitting a $500 application fee and $1,000 fee to cover legal cost of preparing the amendment.

Hough, owner of Hough's Taproom & Brewpub in the Greenfield section of Pittsburgh, wants to transform the former Tilts Pub at 4109 Bakerstown Road into a microbrewery.

But Hough first needs an amendment to the township's zoning ordinance before he may produce beer at the site.

The Richland Township Planning Commission reviewed and approved the proposed amendment and then forwarded it to the township's supervisors for a future vote.

“They accepted the planning commission's recommendations and agreed to expand it to include wine and other alcoholic beverages,” Bastianini said.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

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