The introduction of a small vodka distillery in Downtown Tipp City met one last hurtle this evening. The Tipp City Planning Board voted 5-0 unanimously in favor of the distillery to be introduced into the vacant downtown Plum Street location owned by Larry Reisser. The property,zoned I1D, was determined as an appropriate use of the facility for both the Buckeye Distillery and Serv-Pro, two businesses owned and operated by Aaron Lee.
Aaron approached the Board with a full account of the plans he has, the special use permits he has been approved for, as well as the promise to meet all federal, state and local rules and regulations. He also had comments from 4 different towns with distilleries in them that reported no fire, odor or traffic problems with the business. One of the most compelling arguments that Mr. Lee made was that there would only be 7 1/2 gallons of 90 proof alcohol (flammable) produced in each batch, which would then be diluted back down to 30-40 proof (unflammable) prior to packaging. Tipp City Fire Chief Kessler was asked if the building met code and whether he felt that the presence of a distillery posed an imminent risk to the Downtown residents. Kessler stated that the building most certainly met code and that the amount of flammable and combustible liquid was so small that there is more of a flammability risk with the gasoline in a car’s gas tank than the temporary flammability of this 7 1/2 gallons of vodka.
Resident Kelly Davis approached the Board with several observations including asking whether handicapped accessible parking and restrooms were in the building, dual use of a business that manufactures alcohol, poor turning radius for trucks, possible influx of crime, contamination of the sewer water with chemicals (Serv-Pro), etc. Resident Paul Lee also voiced objections as to whether or not the 6 parking spaces allocated for the property would be enough, or whether owner Aaron Lee (no relation) would need to make parking modifications.
Supporters of the permit for the Buckeye Distillery included the Downtown Tipp City Partnership, Tipp City Area Chamber of Commerce as well as numerous residents who wrote compelling statements and called members of the Planning Board in support of the distillery.
The Planning Board closed its session with the surprise resignation of Robert Horrocks who had served on the Planning Board for 5 years. We wish Robert well with all of his future endeavors.