Parking problems creating setbacks for new microbrewery in Ghent

Posted at 8:02 PM, May 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-08 20:02:18-04

Norfolk, Va.- Finding parking in Ghent can be a huge challenge, and that challenge may stop a local business from opening its doors.

Construction of the Coelacanth Brewery has been put on hold as they wait for the Norfolk City Planning Commission.

“We love this space. We really love Ghent. We love our neighbors, the other business owners, and we’re getting support from them. We’re getting support from Smartmouth and O’Connor so I’m really hopeful that it works out and we get to stay here,” says

The Coelacanth Brewery has been a vision since November of last year and everything was going according to plan until a complaint about off-street parking was brought up this past week.

“I was led to believe I didn’t need my own off-street parking and that is the case… I don’t. So to be opposed for the fact that I don’t have my own off-street parking, which I was told I don’t need, was a little surprising, but I think that it will work out,”

An opposition letter from a surrounding property owner was sent to the city, raising the concern about Coelacanth patrons using private lots because the brewery doesn’t have its own designated lot.

“From what I understand, we’ve had one complaint for people who might come here and park in other areas. We don’t want to impose on our neighbors and other business owners but there’s really no other option. There’s no area around here that I could even rent to provide parking to my patrons,” Erskine says.

They’ve already started remodeling and having shipments brought in, but with the new parking complaint, they’re at a standstill until a hearing at the end of the month.

“The support has been really amazing and I’m hoping that takes us through to May 28th,” Erskine says.

At this point, the City Planning Commission says the brewery reaches all city requirements and will be recommended for approval at the hearing.

“From what I have seen, the City of Norfolk has made a really big effort to help small businesses. We can make Ghent, Norfolk a better destination. Keep it going and growing and part of that is going to be addressing the parking situation on a city-wide basis,” Erskine says.

If you want to help ensure the brewery is approved, you can send the Coelacanth Brewery a letter of support that can be shown during the hearing on May 28th.

The final decision will be made by the City Planning Commissioner.