Compromises worked out to buffer West Colorado Avenue brewpub from residential property
After hearing comments pro and con, the appointed body's members hammered out a set of conditions to mitigate the bar's proximity to the homes that Bonnie Olson rents out at 23 McKinley Place and 712 W. Colorado Ave.
The proposed business, the Cerberus Brewing Company at 702 W. Colorado Ave., still needs City Council approval. That's because Cerberus' four requests for the currently vacant 9,250-square-foot property included a zone change.
The commission members voted for that change
- A development plan, which the group amended to create a 20-foot setback with an 8-foot wall and landscaping to buffer the Olson properties from an outdoor patio that Cerberus intends to set up just west of the site's 3,538-square-foot building.
Before the meeting, under a recommendation by City Planner Michael Turisk - in keeping with the developers' proposal - there would have been no setback at all between the patio and the homes. Some trees were to be planted and dark slats inserted in an existing three-foot-high chain-link fence along the property line, but multiple commission members were grumbling even before Olson's comments that such remedies were probably insufficient. “I'm not sure that's going to do an awful lot for sound mitigation,” commented commission member Robert Shonkwiler, speaking about the slats.
- A non-use variance, which would allow less than 200 feet between a liquor establishment
The fourth Cerberus request was for a “vacation of right of way,” (asking the city to give up a public alley that bisects the northerly end of the property), but the commission was not convinced this was needed, and the developer did not argue otherwise. So it was voted down.
Despite the complications, commission members did speak highly of the project concept, agreeing with project architect Ryan Lloyd about Cerberus' potential for bringing the former veterinary hospital site back to life.
“These infill decisions are always difficult, trying to come up with something that's equal for everyone,” said Eric Phillips, the meeting chair. “Sometimes we [commission members] get into the process of redesigning projects, and that's not what we're here for. But I think this is a good infill project and I'll be in support.”
Jerry Morris, the principal owner of Cerberus, also owns two bars downtown, he said at the meeting. But he added that he was not seeking a late-night type of locale for the West Colorado location and had never even wanted any outside music.
He told the commission he had tried to talk with Olson beforehand, but she had not reciprocated. Her story
However, she told the commission she didn't want to stand in the way of the project. Both the patio and parking lot come up to her property line, but she was more worried about the patio being a problem for her tenants.
Other residents on McKinley had written the city to voice project concerns, but they did not speak at the meeting. Other than Olson, two others who spoke in opposition live or own property on Seventh Street and were worried about the limited off-street parking causing bar customers to cross Colorado Avenue and park there.
Lloyd successfully argued that it would be “inappropriate” on an infill project like this for the city to require full compliance with the normal off-street parking requirements. If such were required on all infill projects in the city's core, he said, the result would be an unsightly “sea of asphalt.”
He and Morris contended that there is enough off-street parking near the property to handle typical parking lot overflow, thus not causing problems for the residential neighbors.
No date has been set for when City Council will consider the Cerberus zone change, but it will likely be at a meeting in September.
Westside Pioneer article