Wawa store and Little Giant Brewery Ok'd by Council

jtate@bradenton.comJune 13, 2013 

BRADENTON -- The City of Bradenton is one step closer to having its first Wawa store, a fancy convenience store, and the Little Giant Brewery after the City Council approved their permits 3-0 Wednesday morning.

Council members Bemis Smith and Gene Gallo were absent from the meeting.

The city council also approved an alcohol beverage license for the Little Giant Brewery.

Michael Wagner, owner of the soon-to-be microbrewery at 301 Seventh St. E., hopes to open the 5,400-square-foot location in September. He said his next step will be to get state and federal permits.

"Now I have to start with the federal and state permits, which I've already been working on," he said. "It can take up to three months to get those permits."

When the microbrewery opens, it will feature a beer garden, tasting room, brewing tours and beer education classes. Wagner said he plans to teach flavor perception and analysis of craft beers.

Wagner's permit was approved with eight stipulations recommended by the Planning Commission, which included such items as a wheel stop for parking, compliance with form base code for landscaping and no outdoor music -- something Wagner said he did not have in his plans.

Last month during the planning meeting Wagner was met with slight opposition from the two residents who were concerned over potential noise and traffic from the microbrewery. Jason "J.B." Taylor, chairman of the planning commission, suggested Wagner and the residents exchange contact information so they can work together.

Wagner said they did, and the absence of residents who opposed the brewery before was proof. Wagner said they met shortly after the May planning meeting and came to a consensus.

"Some of the folks came by and we spent a good while talking," said Wagner. "We worked on things, like the ethos of the brewery."

No one opposed Wawa at Wednesday's meeting either.

Darenda Marvin, a senior planner for the project, said the property had been vacant for a few years.

"We are excited to bring you an opportunity for redevelopment," said Darenda as she addressed the council.

She was accompanied by a group of Wawa representatives and developers from Belleair Development Group.

Marvin presented the council with an updated diagram with the access point improvements suggested by the planning commission in May.

Their permit was approved with stipulations as well, which included having "hostile landscaping" -- thorny plants that deter unwanted guests.

Tim Polk, Director of Planning and community development, said during the meeting that he visited their Tampa location and was pleased with the store's operations.

"I was very impressed," said Polk. "I got a good glimpse of what's coming to Bradenton,"

Wawa public relations representative said that they are delighted to be moving forward with the next steps of bringing Wawa to the Bradenton community, but could not give details on their construction timeline.

"We are projecting an early 2015 opening," she said.

Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.

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