Tree House Brewing Company

Work is underway to transform the old Horizons Restaurant on Town Neck into the new Tree House Brewing Company’s brewhouse and tap room. However the zoning board has been asked to revoke the company’s building permit.

A Boston attorney is challenging the town’s decision to allow Tree House Brewing Company to open a taproom and beer garden on Town Neck.

The attorney, Daniel J. Bailey III, filed an appeal with the Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday, April 21. In it he asks that the ZBA to hold a public hearing and to vacate a building permit issued to Tree House back in March.

Mr. Bailey said he represents four couples who live on Freeman Avenue. His clients did not realize until an April 15 public hearing on Tree House’s liquor license application that the building permit had been issued, he said.

Mr. Bailey’s office then learned that the building inspector issued the permit after determining that the new owners of 98 Town Neck Road (formerly the Drunken Seal and before that, Horizons, restaurants) were allowed, by right, to operate a taproom and brewery.

“We vociferously disagree with that conclusion, and ask that the Zoning Board immediately hold a public hearing and revoke the Permit,” Mr. Bailey wrote.

The attorney laid out several legal arguments for his challenge. Among them are:

• Tree House’s plans for a brewery and beer garden that can serve 500 people, beer distribution and food truck sales violates the bylaw governing a BL-1 zone. The bylaw stipulates that the zoning is for moderately dense commercial use “while preserving or enhancing ocean views from highways, protecting character of historic environs, preserving or enhancing landscaping, minimizing visibility of parked autos and avoiding creation of hazards or congestion.”

• A restaurant is an allowed use, but the proposed taproom would not serve food in the renovated building and is therefore not allowed.

• The 17 parking spaces on the site are “woefully inadequate.” The company proposes to address the inadequacy of on-site parking by using a shuttle service to an off-site parking area. The Zoning Bylaw, however, requires that all parking be within 300 feet of the use.

• Drive-up service to purchase beer is not permitted in the district.

• The cost of the work being done may exceed 50 percent of the value of the building and therefore triggers the need for compliance with current floodplain requirements for a building in the flood zone.

• The proposed use is not really a brewery, but rather a storage and sales facility for beer brewed in another facility owned by Tree House.

• The septic system is inadequate for such a large number of potential customers.

• The proposed walk-in coolers pose a hazard to the nearby protected wetlands and dune.

The appeal was filed on behalf Al and Rosemary Morteo of 9 Freeman Avenue; Lisa and Kevin Cobban of 21 Freeman Ave; Lisa and Lloyd Lipsett of 17 Freeman Ave.; and Pam and Tom Arrighi of 15 Freeman Ave.

Tree House Brewing Company representatives could not be reached for comment before press deadline Thursday. However, The Enterprise received an email comment just after deadline from Tree House founder, Nate Lanier.

"This process and our interactions with Town officials and locals have been a pleasure. We are confident in the plan for our brewery in Sandwich and look forward to welcoming the public into this warm and inviting space," the email stated. "We have fallen in love with Sandwich. From the atmosphere surrounding the marina to the peaceful path along the canal to the famous boardwalk to the rocky beaches to the view from the deck at 98 Town Neck Road, there is enchanting magic to the Cape’s oldest town, and we could not be more excited to contribute to that story."

Copies of the residents' appeal were sent to Building Inspector Brendan W. Brides, the owners of Tree House Brewing Company, and the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Planning Director Ralph A. Vitacco said a public hearing will be scheduled for the ZBA, probably at the end of May.

Recommended for you

(4) comments


Besides some issues it seems that the ones that live there should have a big say, if it indeed repairs and fixes a building and area should be encouraged if it it the neighbors view, they live with that every day.Obviously some issues have to be address,especially septic and grease traps, and maybe this could be a trolley stop in the summer that goes around the town, heights, woods hole, actually 2 trolleys, I wish they would look at Nantucket Trolley system, it really would benefit the entire Town,especially parking, when you know that there is a Trolley or mini bus coming around every 30 minutes , 75 percent of people that work would use this system, it is a common sense issue and should be looked into.


So they freely admit they were ignorant and missed the meeting to bring forth their nimbyist arguments, then bring in a legal shark from Boston to try and impose their will on what the town collectively wants and needs.

Well, it's best to keep one's enemies close, and now you know who selflishly stands in the way of progress.


[angry] I own a home at 88 Town Neck road (right across the street) and we are super excited that Treehouse has purchased the building and is upgrading the area that has been in decline as a restaurant for many years. We (and most of our neighbors) are looking forward to the new taproom! Welcome to Town Neck Road Treehouse!!!


Also a home owner in Town Neck and local business owner in Sandwich, we are thrilled to have an incredible company like Tree House come into our neighborhood to transform this building into an incredible summer retreat. WELCOME TREE HOUSE!!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.