NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) - Residents in a popular neighborhood are brewing over a potential brewery.
Champion Brewing Company from Charlottesville wants to call the Unitarian Church on Yarmouth Street home, but it's going to be hard if neighbors get the last word.
"We could have lived on Colley or on Granby, but we didn't want to be in the middle of it. We want to go to it, but we want to come home and be free of it," explained Yarmouth homeowner Cheryl Oliver.
She and her neighbors are concerned about the possibility of the historic church becoming a local hot spot, bringing in hundreds of people, traffic, and noise.
"This would be a seven night a week venue and while the patrons, I’m sure respectful people, still that brings people at 9, 10, 11 o'clock at night," said Oliver.
Signs on Yarmouth, show many aren’t a big fan of the holy ground being turned into a brewery.
"We love anything that enhances our city scape, but we just want it to come to a place that is already zoned, for that type of business."
A meeting Thursday night with the Ghent Neighborhood League and the prospective developers addressed the concerns for residents, from parking to zoning, noise and flooding.
"If the neighborhood doesn't want it, we don't want to do it because we want it," potential developer Christopher Todd said.
During the meeting, residents had plenty of questions. Developers say they have plans to tackle flooding, and parking. The plan is for more than 250 parking spaces, new signage and adding a fence.
“I think it will be a great project that will show how Norfolk is resilient and can adapt to changing and adaptive reuses of structures."
Residents in the neighborhood are expected to vote on this issue Friday. If it passes, it will head to the city’s zoning department.
Developers say if it's denied, they’ll have to go back to the drawing board and discuss if it's worth fighting for.
The current congregation is leaving due to increasing in size. A member of the church said they haven't received any other offers in three years and they approve of a brewery at the church.
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