Planners approve permit for distillery in business park

by Kate Shunney

The Morgan County Planning Commission has approved a commercial building permit for Capstone Spirits, a distillery operation planned for the U.S. 522 Business Park south of Berkeley Springs.

Planners unanimously okayed the permit on Tuesday, September 25, at their monthly meeting.

The permit will allow construction of six small buildings on Lot 11 of the county-owned business park. Buildings will include a tasting room, a distillery, a fermentation building, mashing building and two storage/maintenance structures on a 2.26-acre lot. That lot fronts U.S. 522, and will have an entrance off J.R. Hawvermale Way.

Owners closed on the lot last week. Economic development director Daryl Cowles said Capstone paid $40,000 for the lot.

The distillery plan includes a 10-space parking area which will be constructed with permeable pavers. That will allow stormwater to filter through to the ground below.

Company owners sought and received an exemption from the county’s stormwater management rules that will allow them to create an improved soil and garden area in place of stormwater retention ponds or other kinds of drainage.

Owner Kathryn Krenn and project engineers got the help of Region 9 Planning & Development environmental manager Matt Pennington in designing the stormwater alternatives.

According to planning documents, the distillery construction will cost $100,000. The project is expected to be completed by January 2019. Owners estimated the operation would employ three people.