The Milford Planning and Zoning Board voted Tuesday night in favor of a special exception for Tribus Beer Company to build a brewery with a patio and taproom in Milford.

Surrounded by some controversy in the weeks before the vote, Milford resident Brett Broesder gathered more than 500 signatures on a petition in support of Tribus Beer Co.’s proposal to establish the city’s first craft brewery at an old industrial site at 100 Raton Drive.

The petition, at Change.org, stated, “The Tribus craft brewery will be located in an industrial area, creating jobs and breathing new life into an area that will benefit from it. The success of craft breweries is about more than beer; it’s also about serving as a gathering place, a source of local identity and pride, and as a means for turning rundown industrial properties into engines for economic growth and job creation.”

The petition was launched about one week ago and aimed to encourage local Planning and Zoning Board members to approve the request from Tribus.

To launch, the owners of Tribus needed a special exception from Milford’s Planning and Zoning Board. The location includes a 15,040-square-foot industrial warehouse on 2.28 acres of land off Plains Road, Broesder said.

Supporters of the proposed microbrewery squared off against neighbors at the Planning and Zoning Board’s Dec. 5 meeting, which was attended by about 50 people.

Nine people spoke in favor of the brewery, saying it would be an asset to Milford, while 13 residents spoke in opposition.

For example, Gregory Harla, vice chairman of the Milford Economic Development Commission, said craft brewing is a $718-million industry in Connecticut that attracts tourists.

Frederick Miller of 65 Henry Albert Drive said, “I think it is very important we continue to attract businesses of this type,” adding that it would generate tax revenue without putting a burden on city schools.

Speaking in opposition, Vincent Sarullo of 45 Haystack Road said, “This is not a zone for a pub or patio. We set up downtown Milford just for this. To put a pub and a patio in an industrial zone makes absolutely no sense.”

Robin Moran of 500 Plains Road said a project needs to be in harmony with the area and not have a traffic impact.

“This will have a negative impact on the value of my home,” said Moran.

Under the zoning regulations, manufacturing is a permitted use in the zone. However, the tasting room or pub and patio required a special exception, since they are not explicitly allowed or prohibited in this area.

“Milford’s Planning and Zoning Board took up the issue at a public meeting Dec. 5, 2017,” Broesder said in the press release issued Saturday. “However, the board closed the hearing and [was] unable to take a vote on the project due to time constraints.”

The board took up the matter again Tuesday and voted to approve the brewery.

“...the craft brewery will join an industry that is booming across the state, and there are virtually no signs that it will slow down anytime soon,” Broesder said in his press release. “There’s currently about 60 craft breweries up and running across the state, and around 40 more are in the planning stages. Connecticut’s craft beer boom is resulting in a nearly $569-million economic impact annually and the creation of more than 4,600 jobs and counting, according to the Brewers Association.”

He thanked the P&Z in a statement issued to the press Tuesday after the vote: "Thanks to the Milford Planning and Zoning Board members for their overwhelming support of this project. And, cheers to the folks who are launching this neighborhood revitalization project.”