STEVENSVILLE — A bill signed into law by former Gov. Rick Snyder during the lame-duck session in December is creating headaches for a local brewery.
One of the bills prohibits unfinished products to be transported off a brewery’s property, said Chris Mason, one of the owners of Watermark Brewing Co. in Stevensville, at the village council meeting on Wednesday. Mason is also a village trustee.
He said the owners of Watermark, located on St. Joseph Avenue, recently bought a warehouse on Mill Street behind the brewery where they plan to store unfinished beer while it ferments. He said the problem is that there are two village-owned alleys between the main building and the warehouse.
He said Watermark would like to buy two sections of the alleys so the brewery isn’t taking the product across property lines that it doesn’t own.
“This would give us a direct line from our back door to this building’s apron without going off our property,” he said.
One of the alleys, which is paved, runs behind the brewery from Kimmel to Lawrence streets. The second alley is a green space that runs perpendicular from the paved alley to Mill Street.
Mason said no one knew the second alley existed until a survey was done.
“It’s a patch of grass which we thought was on our property,” he said after the meeting.
Mason proposed buying the two pieces of alley for up to $25,000. He said the brewery would pay for all the legal costs. In addition, he said the brewery would set up easements so surrounding property owners and the village could use the alley as needed.
“We’re willing to do whatever to make it work,” he said. “... We don’t want to disrupt any of our surrounding neighbors.”
He said they plan to pave the green space.
Village trustees approved a motion to continue to allow Watermark to pursue the purchase of the alley. Mason said he needed approval so he could continue working with Watermark’s lawyer in Grand Rapids to have a purchase agreement drawn up.
The purpose of the new law was not explained at Wednesday’s meeting.
Contact: lwrege@TheHP.com, 932-0361, Twitter: @HPWrege