Planners back city proposal to ease rules on breweries
Star-News (Wilmington, NC), 2014-08-07
Aug. 07 -- The Wilmington Planning Commission has signed off on a city proposal to ease restrictions on breweries.
On Wednesday, the commission voted unanimously to recommend the approval of the proposal, which will now head to the city council.
Breweries are not a permitted use under the city's land development. Last year, craft breweries interested in locating in Wilmington ran into confusion, according to Phil Prete , a senior city planner. Easing restrictions on the breweries could benefit the city, with businesses filling vacant buildings, he has said.
John Hinnant , the former head of Wilmington Downtown Inc. , spoke in favor of the changes Wednesday in a public hearing.
"We have a lot of interest in breweries," Hinnant said. "This is a unique opportunity to celebrate craftsmanship and artisanship..."
Although no one else spoke in the public hearing, residents also supported the changes in a previous public hearing on July 9 , when the commission first heard the request. The commission continued the request at that meeting to allow a July 30 work session. Bruce McGuire , the commission member who suggested the work session, recused himself from the brewery discussion after the July 9 meeting, as well as Paul Boney , another member.
City planners want to add definitions for a brewery, small regional brewery and microbrewery to the city code.
Under the proposed rules, a brewery would be 75,000 square feet and up and would continue to be allowed in parts of the city under zoning districts known for manufacturing-type uses. A small regional brewery could not exceed 75,000 square feet. A microbrewery could not exceed 25,000 square feet.
Planners want to allow both regional breweries and microbreweries under the following zoning districts: regional business; central business district; commercial services; urban mixed use.
Additionally, microbreweries would be allowed in the community business, mixed use, and riverfront mixed-use districts. The breweries would be subject to a number of detailed conditions depending on the zoning district.
The city council will have the final say on whether the changes are approved.
The commission also voted unanimously to recommend the approval of zoning the former Galleria property at 6800 Wrightsville Ave. as urban mixed use. The 12.64-acre tract was formerly within the Wrightsville Beach town limits. Both municipalities signed-off on a deal for the land to become part of Wilmington and the state approved the change. The city created the urban mixed use zoning district in 2013, in part, to encourage redevelopment.
Julian March : 343-2099
On Twitter : @julian_march
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