Town of Pinedale update: Microbreweries
by Bob Jones, Mayor, Town of Pinedale
May 15, 2015
As many of you have heard, the brew pub is looking to expand their business in Pinedale. They are looking to build a much larger production facility and tasting area in another part of town. This is great news for our town and we look forward to working with the owners to accomplish their goal of expanding the business. Unfortunately, we have a zoning problem. The town code does not allow for the by right construction of a microbrewery. The owners of the Brew Pub have requested that the town amend the zoning ordinance to allow micro breweries to be built by right in commercial C-1 Zoned areas. That means they do not need to have permission. On the surface, this may seem reasonable. It should be pointed out that the owners presented their case to the zoning board and the board voted to allow a microbrewery by right in C-1.
Please keep in mind I want this project for our town. However, I cannot support this project in our limited commercial area without knowing precisely what is going to be built. I have recommended to the owners and the town council that if it seems reasonable to allow microbrewery's in C-1 it should be only permitted under a special use permit. This means they must ask for permission. This would allow the town to review the project and allow it to impose restrictions that would protect the town, its businesses, and citizens from unintended consequences such as parking problems and heavy truck traffic.
There are a few other things that you should know. This change would allow other microbrewers to build in town. The brew pub is not requesting to build a larger brew pub as we know it. They are requesting permission to build a factory that will be able to produce up to 50,000 barrels a year that will have 30 employees, and a 90 seat tasting room. That is 1,550,000 gallons a year or about 200 tanker trucks. They said they are currently producing around 2,000 barrels a year. They have asked for the building to be 45 feet tall, which is 10 feet taller than currently allowed. C-1 allows for construction up to the lot line. This means that if you have a house next to or in C-1 they would have the right to put a factory next to your house and not even have to notify you the owner. If they did notify you, you would have no recourse because there would be not be required public hearings. I find this unacceptable. If a factory is going into a commercial area, the people need to know about it and have public meetings to discuss the project that directly impacts them. There may be a piece of commercial property in town that would be appropriate but most properties are not. I feel a conditional use is very fair and appropriate. In my mind this is a factory and it should be located in industrial zoned land that is located for this type of project.
The owners of the brew pub have accused me of not wanting business in town because I am not willing to roll over and give them what they want. I am more than willing to figure out a way to work through this situation but I will NOT put the best interest of a person or a business ahead of what's in the town's best interest. I am trying to protect other businesses and citizens, not hurt a business that wants to expand. There is plenty of appropriate land available in town. When you elected me I promised to do what is in the town’s best interest, not what is in the best interest of an individual. Rest assured I aim to keep my promise and I will not be bullied into doing something I know is wrong. I realize I only have one vote on the council and I may lose. If that happens than the will of the people has spoken and we will move on. Please make your feelings known and participate in the public hearings to come.