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Howell planners approve application for brewery on Colts Neck Road

HOWELL – The members of the Planning Board have approved an application that proposed  the establishment of the Tall Oaks Farm and Brewery on Colts Neck Road in Howell.

Planning Board Chairman Brian Tannenhaus, Howell Councilwoman Pamela Richmond, Robert Seaman, Paul Boisvert, Nicholas Huszar, Robert Nicastro, Lara Casper and Joseph Cristiano voted “yes” on a motion to approve the application during a meeting on Dec. 16.

The application of AATZ Holding, LLC, as the applicant, and 214 Colts Neck Road Partnership (Lot 79.01) and 196 Colts Neck Road Partnership (Lot 79.02), as owners, were seeking preliminary and final major site plan approval to construct a one-story, 2,815-square-foot building for use as a microbrewery.

The applicant also proposed to construct a hops fields, a 30-foot by 60-foot open pavilion, a 20-foot by 20-foot shed, a patio area with an overhead pergola and an outdoor grass seating area.

Attorney Michael Wenning and applicants Chelsey and Michal Ziolkowski were present at the meeting.

Michael Ziolkowski is a member of AATZ Holding and AATZ Holding was the contract purchaser of the property. Ziolkowski and his wife/business partner proposed the development of a microbrewery on Colts Neck Road.

“We currently own a microbrewery in Bradley Beach. We have been open for about three-and-a-half years,” he said, adding that the proposal in Howell was “a sister project.”

“It has always been a passion of ours to open up a more farm-like, outdoor-like brewery outside of what we currently have in Bradley Beach. Our intent is to continue to run the brewery in Bradley Beach, and this (business in Howell) becomes our second project (and) includes some additional things we always wanted to do that we did not get a chance to do in Bradley Beach,” Ziolkowski told board members and members of the public.

He said the proposed building in Howell would have a small office and a tasting room. There will be an outside seating area and a small pavilion that can host outdoor events. The hops field would only serve the business.

“It is not a commercial use hops field, it is strictly for our own use. It will roughly generate less than 5% of the hops we are actually going to use in the brewing process. It is strictly for some special beers we are going to do, as well as the general aesthetic of what we are trying to accomplish,” Ziolkowski said.

Ziolkowski said the idea for the property in Howell is to create an environment for “folks to come to, to meet outside, to enjoy beer, to take some things to go … to have that sort of outdoor-like experience.”

“We will never be open past 10 p.m. … it is not our intention to be an open bar, this is strictly a simple, approachable way of enjoying beer within the community,” Ziolkowski said.

Production operations would generally take place between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., but would not necessarily be continuous during that 16-hour window, he said.

“Our tasting room is where you can actually come in and have a beer, take some to go, experience this whole farm-like, brewery aesthetic. Our proposed hours for the tasting room are noon to 10 p.m.,” Ziolkowski said.

The applicant’s brewery in Bradley Beach, which is about an 1,800-square-foot space, generates about 1,000 barrels a year. A barrel is about 31 gallons, according to the testimony.

“If you think about the Beach Haus Brewery in Belmar, it is about 10,000 (barrels). If you think about the Kane Brewing Company in Ocean, it is about 30,000 (barrels). Those are substantially large breweries. We are anticipating between 3,000 and 4,000 barrels (in Howell … Our goal is really to focus on the tasting room experience, with some supplemental support for some of the production we are trying to do out of Bradley Beach right now,” Ziolkowski said.

The proposed brewery will have two driveways on Colts Neck Road. The applicant will provide 43 parking spaces (21 parking spaces were required).

Following the conclusion of the testimony and the board members’ vote to approve the AATZ Holding application, Nicastro said, “Welcome to Howell. I think it is going to be a great addition.”

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