Tree House Brewing’s approved plan includes restaurant, concert venue in South Deerfield

  • Tree House Brewing off of Routes 5 and 10 in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

  • Greenfield resident Jon Bassett picks up his order of Tree House Brewing beers from employee Jennifer Gerace of Leyden at the new South Deerfield location, where customers can order online and pick up their orders curbside. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

  • A selection of beers from Tree House Brewing in South Deerfield. The Deerfield Planning Board approved Tree House Brewing’s modified site plan Monday night, which includes implementing a restaurant, redoing the patio and creating a concert venue. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 8/4/2021 12:53:51 PM

DEERFIELD — The Planning Board approved Tree House Brewing’s modified site plan Monday night, which includes establishing a restaurant, redoing the patio and creating a concert venue.

The meeting was the second in a string of public hearings for Tree House’s “Phase 2,” which moves beyond selling beer for off-premises consumption and in the direction of turning the brewery into a restaurant and music venue. The Select Board approved Tree House’s pouring and entertainment permits last week and will seek the Zoning Board of Appeals’ approval for a special permit amendment Thursday evening.

Mark Borenstein, an attorney from the Bowditch and Dewey law firm representing Charlton-based Tree House Brewing, said many of the changes being made to the site off Routes 5 and 10, formerly home to the Channing Bete Co., are for increased accessibility.

“It’s very important everyone can access this property,” Borenstein said. “(Tree House is) thinking about accessibility and ease.”

Tree House Brewing is seeking to add a distillery, which will require a federal permit, and a pizza oven for on-site consumption. There will be both indoor and outdoor seating areas, along with a private dining section that can be rented out for parties.

In terms of traffic impact, Borenstein said initial concerns about increased traffic for Phase 1 were quelled soon after opening, and that Phase 2 impacts should also be minimal.

“There were quite a few concerns about traffic for the site,” Borenstein said. “Tree House does a good job of moving people along.”

Some Planning Board members pointed out that a restaurant and concert venue are a “different beast” when it comes to traffic and parking, but Borenstein said a traffic study concluded there would only be a small impact. He added the company will keep in contact with the state and town.

“The impact as part of Phase 2 would introduce a minimal increase to traffic,” Borenstein said. “(Tree House) generally tries to limit the number of people on the premises. … They’ve been actively in contact with MassDOT.”

Borenstein said there is “ample parking based on the proposed uses” of the building. The site is required to have 269 parking spaces and the plan has 282. He added the company will “encourage carpooling.” The capacity of the site is capped at 500 patrons.

Continuing the discussion from last week’s Select Board meeting, some members of the Planning Board asked about the level of noise that will be generated by concerts. Borenstein said the site is “pretty quiet” and a sound engineer determined levels are lower on the site than trucks driving by on Routes 5 and 10.

Members of the Planning Board took a trip to Tree House Brewing’s Charlton site to get a glimpse at what Deerfield could look like. Vice Chair Denise Mason said she was “extremely impressed” with the site, its services and family-friendly atmosphere.

“When we were out there it was pretty amazing,” Mason said. “There were families with kids and dogs.”

Planning Board member Rachel Blain asked Borenstein how Tree House can merge with the activity of the town. Borenstein cited the company’s adaptability as a COVID-19 vaccine site and the “stellar” reception it has received from residents and town officials alike.

“I think Tree House has demonstrated to the town that Tree House is at home in Deerfield,” Borenstein explained. “Tree House’s vision for Deerfield is tourism and entertainment.”

The Planning Board approved Tree House’s site plan review and placed the condition that any further “substantial” changes be brought before the board again.

Tree House Brewing will present to the Zoning Board of Appeals Thursday at 6 p.m.

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