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Another round of review adds recommendations to brewery zoning

OCEANSIDE — The Planning Commission added further recommendations to the city’s draft zoning amendment to allow craft breweries and wineries along Coast Highway on Monday.

The definition of a craft brewery or winery is a business that brews beer or makes wine on site, has a tasting room, but does not include a restaurant. Currently these operations are restricted to light industrial zones in Oceanside, and most cities.

Proposed regulations include parameters for facility size, amount of production, limited signage, a 10 p.m. closing time and parking requirements.

Meeting discussion focused chiefly on parking and neighborhood notification.

After some discussion on the impacts of current brewery/restaurants parking on adjacent residential streets, commissioners agreed that craft breweries and wineries should not be singled out to provide more parking than other same-sized businesses.

Small-scale businesses of any kind do not have a parking requirement by-right. Commissioners said this should stay true for small craft breweries and wineries under 5,000 square feet that produce less than 5,000 barrels of beer or 4,000 cases of wine.

Commissioners did recommend public notification of all size breweries adjacent to residents, schools and churches. They asked for an administrative conditional use permit (CUP) for small craft breweries and wineries next to these uses. This ensures a 1,500-foot notice to nearby homes and businesses, and a 15-day review period, which adds opportunity for community input.

The commission’s recommendation goes a step further than that of the Downtown Advisory Committee’s (DAC) on July 27, which looked at allowance in the downtown area. The commission added the requirement of an administrative CUP for operations adjacent to schools and churches.

Both bodies requested more opportunities for public input than drafted regulations, which allow small craft breweries and wineries, under 5,000 square feet, to open by-right.

Commissioner Curtis Busk also asked that a density threshold be added to regulations, and suggested an allowance of one business per 1,000 feet.

During a break in the meeting Councilman Chuck Lowery said he observed the majority of speakers were against zoning changes. He added residents should let council members know where they stand.

A good number of those who spoke against the zoning represented alcohol prevention efforts, and said the more businesses that sell alcohol the greater the problems.

“There are no tools in place to not allow breweries and wineries on every corner,” John Byrom, a prevention specialist for North Coastal Prevention Coalition, said.

Commissioners and city staff said craft breweries and wineries are distinct from bars, serve a different clientele, and have far less calls for police service.

The number of service calls from city brewery/restaurants was shared, and it was noted only one or two calls for service from most establishments were business related, the other calls were to report observed crime in the area.

Others who opposed the zoning had concerns about proximity to schools and impacts to residential parking.

Supporters said they welcome the zoning change, which might spark business growth.

The Planning Commission unanimously supported zoning for craft breweries and wineries with its recommendations.

The City Council will vote on the zoning amendment Sept. 7.