Navy restrictions frustrate Virginia Beach breweries

13News Now Steven Graves has the story

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WVEC) -- Frustrations are rising among certain breweries in Virginia Beach.

Two businesses close to Naval Air Station Oceana say business is suffering after being stripped of entertainment like televisions and live music, even food trucks.

One of those affected is Young Veteran's Brewing company.

Over three years, owners Tom Wilder and Neil McCanon have seen a lot of growth.

"We can't. We genuinely cannot move," said Wilder.

"We just made a huge investment into this location," said McCanon.

Their location is right near a naval base. Because of safety concerns, there's an easement dating back to the 1980's that puts restrictions on certain businesses and activities allowed in a certain mileage.

"We knew this stuff going forward. We did our best to comply with all of that going forward," said Wilder. "We just had no idea it was going to become this strict."

The veterans said problems started with the Navy when they recently tried to get a permit for expansion.  They said they had to downsize because of confusion on square footage.

The owners provided 13News Now with a letter the Navy sent them outlining other restrictions like no food trucks or outdoor activities.

"Also interpreting pretty widely the phrase 'entertainment' to include board games even," said McCanon.

A Navy spokes person responded to 13News Now with the following response:

“The U.S. Government owns the development rights at the property occupied by Young Veterans Brewing Company. Under the Restrictive Use Easement associated with this property, food trucks are not permitted.”

The two businesses argue the easement is being taken out of context for the Navy's advantage.

Nearby brewery, Reaver Beach, says its suffering from the changes.

"It gives other breweries in Hampton Roads a leg up," said Owner, Justin MacDonald. "I would like to see their loose interpretation of these documents stop."

According to a letter to the city, In August, Navy officials said large crowds had been gathering in recent months.

"[The activities] do attract more people. That's good for us as a business and that's obviously something that we like," said McCanon. "As to how we feel about risk, I don't feel a whole lot of difference in risk."

The two businesses said they will comply, but hope to have better relations with Navy officials in the future. Neither plan to move locations.

"As to the future of the business, there's no denying that it's going to hurt revenue some," McCanon said. 


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