Monk Battles for Brewery That Doubles as Monastery in Swamspscott, Mass. - NECN
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Monk Battles for Brewery That Doubles as Monastery in Swamspscott, Mass.

An upscale neighborhood in Swampscott may be getting new neighbors.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A monk wants to open up a monastery in Swampscott, Mass. that would also be a brewery. Perry Russom reports. (Published Monday, Dec. 12, 2016)

    An upscale neighborhood in Swampscott, Massachusetts may be getting new neighbors.

    "I'm against the brewery," said Ira Rosenberg from Swampscott. "Absolutely against it. Monastery? I'd love to have it."

    The monastery would be at the old Marian Court College on Littles Point Road and would house up to 18 monks brewing beer to fund the projects. Millions are expected in repairs to the buildings.

    "The only way to support the property and restore it and to be a good neighbor would be to have the level of economic activity a brewery would provide," said Fr. Andrew Bushell, an orthodox monk.

    A beer brewing monastery wouldn't be the a first for New England. One is up and running in Spencer.

    "Initially we would hope to sell 1,800 barrels of beer," said Fr. Andrew.

    The sale of the 6-acre land along the waterfront is a private matter. Being allowed to brew beer commercially makes it public.

    The town is checking their ordinances to see if beer can be brewed on a residential land.

    "Father Andrew had stated he wasn't interested in acquiring the property unless he could get the brewery approved which raised, for us, what we think is an issue," said Don Hause, a Swampscott Town Selectman.

    Hause said he is outright against the proposal and questions if it can even be done under town code.

    "We think it would really improve the neighborhood," said Christine Bilyk, who lives next door to where the monastery would go. She points to the fact the monastery/brewery would bring the dilapidated property back to life.

    "There's so much water damage," said Bilyk. "It's falling apart."

    Bilyk says the town is against the proposal because they would lose tax revenue.

    "Revenues are always beneficial to a small town like ours," said Hause. "We would certainly support a monastery or religious use."

    A town inspection will now check the property and their ordinances to see if a commercial brewery can go on the land.

    If the monastery/brewery is not approved, Fr. Andrew said he would look to go the legal route to complete the deal.

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