Late last year, the trio behind Moon Dog brewery lodged a planning application with Maribyrnong City Council for a new 900-capacity venue on the old Franco Cozzo site in Footscray, including a rooftop garden with sweeping city views.
Yesterday, Moon Dog was informed that the council had rejected its proposal, with a refusal to grant a planning permit.
“It is a disappointing outcome but it’s not one that we weren’t prepared for,” Moon Dog co-founder Karl van Buuren tells Broadsheet.
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According to the document provided to Moon Dog (and anyone who submitted a case for or against the proposal), the application was rejected on the basis it would “result in unacceptable risk to vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists”; that “the sale and consumption of liquor would result in unacceptable amenity impacts” and that the application “fails to provide the required number of car parking spaces” as outlined in the Maribyrnong Planning Scheme.
“We obviously share those concerns and we’ve been working with [the planning department] now for nine months going through them … we don’t want to do anything that’s unsafe, either,” van Burren tells Broadsheet. The Moon Dog team has arranged a meeting with Maribyrnong mayor Sarah Carter and Planning and Environment Services director Laura-Jo Mellan for next week, and hopes to come to an agreement without needing to apply for a review, which must be done within 60 days of receiving a refusal.
If successful, the new Footscray venue, which was due to open this summer, will be the brewer’s third site alongside destinations in Abbotsford and Preston. Van Burren says the team has already spent “a not insignificant amount of money” on the planned Footscray site.
While the building on Hopkins Street is not heritage-listed, it’s a landmark for many Melburnians thanks to previous tenant Cozzo and his iconic ’90s commercials. If Moon Dog’s appeal is successful, the team plans to retain the Franco Cozzo signage and keep as much of the history alive as possible. “It’s not heritage, but it’s certainly heritage to us”, says Van Buuren.