Townsite Brewing seeks to establish on-site picnic area in Powell River

Properties must be rezoned in order for development to occur

Efforts are underway to establish a picnic area adjacent to Townsite Brewing, where consumption of alcohol would be permissible.

At the committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday, September 17, City of Powell River manager of planning services Jason Gow said direction was being sought on a rezoning application submitted by Sunshine Investments.

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Gow said this was a unique situation. It is not only a request to rezone the property but also a request to consider amendments to the zoning bylaw.

Gow said the property is in the commercial district of the historic Townsite neighbourhood.

“It is a unique property,” said Gow. “It has frontage along Marine Avenue and it also has frontage along Walnut Street, however, because of topography, it is a property that can’t be accessed by vehicle. It’s a challenging property to develop in today’s age. The property did belong to the city and was purchased by Sunshine Investments in 2018.”

Gow said Townsite Brewing plays a key role in this application. He said the brewery is housed on property also owned by Sunshine Investments. He said Townsite Brewing has an interest in establishing a licensed picnic area on the subject property.

A licensed picnic area is an endorsement through the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB). A manufacturer can apply to the LCRB, for a lounge, which Townsite Brewing has, and now the business would like to apply for an endorsement to have this picnic area.

Gow said the holder of a manufacturer’s licence may apply for one or more picnic areas onsite, where patrons may consume products obtained from the facility. This is a consumption area only. No sales or service is permitted in the picnic area. A picnic area may be up to 1,000 square metres total, must have a clearly defined boundary and be located at ground level on grass, gravel, et cetera. It must not be used as an overflow area of a lounge.

The picnic area may be open from 9 am until half an hour after sunset. Liquor must not be consumed past this time and all patrons must clear within a further half hour. It must have sufficient line of sight from the interior to manage the area or there must be other strategies in place to supervise the patrons. There must be signage to indicate the capacity and indicate the area is for consumption only and that it is not a service area.

“It’s unlike a patio where someone takes your order and brings beer back; this is a situation where people would go into the brewery, purchase a drink and go to the picnic area,” said Gow.

The area must be open to the elements and has a total person capacity of 30 unless otherwise noted on the licence. It is not permitted to have amplified sound in or adjacent to the picnic area, unlike a patio, which can have music and entertainment.

The rezoning of the property is vital because there is a key requirement from LCRB that requires the picnic area to be located on the site where the manufacturing exists. Gow said it presents a bit of a problem because there are two parcels: the subject picnic area property and the Townsite Brewing property.

“The interest here is to amalgamate these in future,” said Gow. “Currently, the Townsite Brewing property is zoned MC (mill commercial) and the subject property is zoned C1 (general commercial). Today’s application, if successful, will rezone the subject property to MC and then the application would come to the approving officer for the consolidation or subdivision of the parcels, and that would make one large consolidated property. Then, Townsite Brewing could apply to the LCRB for the endorsement.”

Councillor Rob Southcott said he likes the concept because it is consistent with the whole enhancement of the neighbourhood and brings people together in a way that Townsite Brewing already achieves admirably.

Committee of the whole carried a recommendation that staff prepare a draft amendment bylaw to City of Powell River Zoning Bylaw 2100, 2006, as per the favoured option contained in Gow’s report.

Gow presented three different options for the committee’s consideration. Councillors were supportive of an option that either applies the reduction in off-street parking requirements broadly across the region when additional end-of-trip facilities are installed (i.e., bike racks); or, establishes reductions for parking throughout in a distinct area of Townsite in recognition that current standards are not achievable without creating limitations on the use of a property. Gow stated in a report to the committee that City of Abbotsford does this and requires no additional parking spaces tied to the renovation or change of use or occupancy of an existing building or structure within its historic downtown.

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