The Norfolk Planning Commission paved the way for new microbreweries and distilleries in Norfolk at Tuesday morning’s meeting.

The planning commission voted in favor of two motions that would amend city code to include definitions for microbreweries and distilleries and state in which zones they’d be allowed.

“We didn’t have anything in our code except for large breweries and distilleries, and the microbreweries and distilleries are becoming more popular,” said Valerie Grimes, director of planning and development. “So we took the definitions from the state statutes.”

This would make it easier for someone to start a new microbrewery or distillery in Norfolk, Grimes said.

Under the proposed definitions, a microbrewery has a maximum output of 20,000 barrels of beer per year, which is just under 5 million pints, Grimes said. A microdistillery would have a maximum output of 10,000 gallons of liquor per year.

If the amendments pass, city code also would distinguish between microbreweries that grind their own mash and those that don’t.

When grains are ground for mash, it produces a lot of grain dust, which is highly flammable, Grimes said. A microbrewery that intended to grind its own mash would need to get a conditional-use permit under the proposed code.

The amendments will be considered by the city council at its next meeting.


The Norfolk Planning Commission met Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. at the Norfolk City Council chambers.

Commission members present: Dan Spray, Kyle Deets, Melissa Figueroa, Zackary Gangwer, Dirk Waite, Jacob Thone, Mary Hammond, Martin Griffith and Brandon Franklin

Commission members absent: None

Meeting lasted: 40 minutes.

Others in attendance: City staff, four; media representatives, two; and two from the public.

ACTION ITEMS:

— Approved conditional-use permit for an oversize accessory building on a property one-fourth of a mile east of the intersection at East Norfolk Avenue and Grandview Drive.

— Approved conditional-use permit for storage and warehousing at 211 W. Madison Ave. and 207 S. Third St.

— Amended city code and land use matrix to add definitions for microbreweries, microdistilleries and related terms.

In other news

OMAHA (AP) — Officials may have to increase the amount of water released into the Missouri River over the next couple of months to ensure there is enough water in the river for cities that rely on it for water and for barge traffic.