Logboat Brewery found itself at yet another Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Thursday.
Last month, the company secured approval to rezone its property from mixed-use neighborhood to industrial, allowing it to move forward with plans for expansion.
Continuing its quest for more beer, the company requested a conditional use permit to build a bigger bar in its freshly-labeled industrial zone.
The request is necessary because tied up in the plan to expand is a need not only for more bar and patio area, but also the additional parking. These are the planned expansions delineated at the meeting:
- 7,550 square feet tasting room/patio/balcony.
- 850 square feet for retail.
- 12,560 square feet for production.
- 6,630 square feet for warehouse.
Commissioner Michael MacMann said that Benton-Stephens, the neighborhood closest to Logboat's facilities, held a meeting to discuss their thoughts on the approval of the Conditional Use Permit (CUP).
Six members are in favor and one is opposed, he said. The caveat of those in favor was the parking dilemma that already exists at Logboat.
There is a certain science to the parking to bar space ratio, and Logboat is not currently meeting it. The city's standard is one parking stall for every 150 square feet devoted to bar use. The company currently has 20 fewer spots then they need. This is causing street parking and safety hazards for surrounding roads and neighbors.
Expanding parking to 62 spaces is one of the five proposed CUP conditions. Logboat has agreed, pending approval by the City Council and review by the city law department, to create a parking lot at 509 Fay St., a triangular gravel lot about 50 feet from the building.
To make the new lot and the venture between the plots as safe as possible, Logboat will construct an “ADA-compliant crosswalk and appropriate signage” on Fay Street, says the staff report. Patrons will also be directed by wayfinding signage installed by the owner.
The final condition of the CUP struck the most debate among council members.
“The loading dock and delivery area shall be designed to be deep enough to prevent deliveries from occurring within the College Avenue Right-of-Way,” the report states. “Any portion of a structure associated with a proposed footprint expansion shall not exceed 50 inches.”
The loading dock, as designed under industrial zone regulations, will be 10 feet deep into the plot, but a couple of commissioners stated concerns of that length still being too close to the road. They said they feel this may cause potential traffic issues and be an eyesore for those driving down College Avenue.
“I really regret the fact that this CUP was separated from the zoning change,” Commissioner Sharon Geuea Jones said at the meeting. “I’m finding myself in a position where I don’t like this project, but because we’ve already voted on the zoning, my choices are to approve this project or let them do all industrial (building) with no tap room. I don’t like being put in that position.”
Jesse Stephens of Crockett Engineering, speaking at the meeting on behalf of Logboat, reported that making that change would significantly alter the expansion plans, and Logboat did not want to make it a condition.
Following palpable tension between commission members, two new conditions were tagged to quell the concerns of eyesores on College Avenue.
The sixth condition is the placement of a substantial amount of window coverage on the College Avenue facing side of the building, and the seventh is guaranteed compliance with landscaping alongside the loading dock.
After nearly an hour and a half of deliberation, what ended the vote in unanimous approval was a sense of trust in Tyson Hunt and Andrew Sharp, two of Logboat’s co-founders present at the meeting.
“These guys have proved to be an anchor and a good neighbor,” MacMann said. “At some point, we’re going to have to trust these guys to do something right.”
And they did. With a unanimous vote, the commission pushed the decision to the city council for final approval.