Village okays serving alcohol outdoors

Officials say it will bring more customers to Goshen's downtown

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By Geri Corey

— Seeking to infuse new energy into Goshen’s downtown business district, village officials are permitting Franz Brendle, owner of Craft 47, to serve alcohol outdoors, despite safety warnings from the police chief.

In a March 13 letter to the board, Brendle asked to use Market Street, the road adjoining his restaurant, as a beer garden during Great American Weekend on July 5 and 6. Then on May 6, Brendle requested permission to serve on the sidewalk in front of his restaurant from April 1 to Nov. 30.

The board approved both requests at its May 12 meeting, on the condition that Brendle obtain the proper permits from the state to expand his liquor license.

Craft 47, a restaurant on West Main St., offers beer, wine and American tapas.

“Customers order different, light foods that make up a meal, either for themselves or to share," said Brendle, explaining tapas. "They can mix and match selections.”

On the sidewalk, he’ll offer the same food and drink as he does indoors. Under Goshen code, two tables and four chairs are allowed outdoors, as long as they don’t obstruct the sidewalk or hamper pedestrians.

To run the beer garden, Brendle will close Market Street to traffic, set up tables and chairs, and have on hand a Smutty Nose brewery truck with a keg. Music and entertainment will also be provided. There will be a fee to enter, and wristbands will be supplied for the event, lasting from 2 to 7 p.m.

“This will have a positive impact on businesses," Brendle said. "It’ll bring people into the village and spur activity to West Main Street."

Mayor: 'People sit outside already'

Goshen Mayor Kyle Roddey said the board has created a proper permit for serving alcohol outside. “But any expansion of a liquor license has to go through normal state process," he said.

He said the board supports local businesses that bring new ideas to the village. Here's one more attraction at the Goshen commercial district.

“It’s outside," Roddey said. "I see it as a destination for people. It’s not unique. People sit outside already."

With public safety in mind, Goshen Village Police Chief James Watt said he doesn't favor introducing alcohol to public events.

“It tends to change the nature of those events from a safe family-friendly environment to one of disorderly, offensive and sometimes violent behavior," he said in a letter to the village board. But since the village is granting the requests, he offered recommendations to follow to foster public safety (see sidebar).

“It’s a time when most communities are scaling back or eliminating public alcohol consumption in the interests of protecting the public and reducing liability, I find it disturbing that this community would go in the opposite direction," Watt wrote. "Once we go down the ‘slippery slope,’ it will be difficult to stop."

At their April 21 meeting, board members decided to allow wine tasting at the farmers market, which opened on May 30 and is held every Friday at Church Park through the end of October (see related story).

Ever since the Orange County Government Center closed in the aftermath of flooding from Hurricane Irene, in 2011, Goshen's downtown business district has been missing the influx of county workers who once dined and shopped there. Village officials have been vocal in urging the county to get a government center in Goshen up and running again, while trying other ways of revitalizing business for the village.

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