Vallejo Planning Commission approves new brewery, tap room

By John Glidden, Vallejo Times-Herald

A new brewery and tap room are headed to Vallejo after the city’s Planning Commission approved the application during its meeting Monday night.

Napa Smith Brewery and associated tap room will operate out of an existing 36,000 square feet building located at 101 Yolano Ave.

According to a city staff report, the tap room will offer beer by the glass or as a tasting sampler with pre-packaged food. Items for off-site consumption include individual containers of beer, 6 or 12 packs of beer, wine coolers, ale, kegs of beer, premium wines, cases of beer, and novelties, staff added.

Several of the commissioners said they supported the project but expressed concerns regarding signage, landscaping and allowing the business to place signs up.

Commissioner Robert Schussel said he hoped the city “cooperates” by allowing the brewery to erect signage at a later date. “If we want a business to succeed, people have to know where you are,” Schussel said.

Fellow commissioner Tony Adams had a problem with the recommended hours for the tap room — 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. — listed in the staff report.

“8 p.m. seems like an awfully, awfully early time to terminate that (time),” Adams said. He cited Vino Godfather Winery’s tap room, which closes at 10 p.m.

Adams also expressed dismay with the limited landscaping design, instead suggesting that the brewery plant various items along the building to “make the place look more beautiful.”

He incorporated the tap room changes and landscape requirements in a motion, which was approved 5-0 by the commission.

Planning Commission Chair Landis Graden was absent from the meeting, and vice-chair Marvin Kinney recused himself prior to the discussion and vote.

The brewery will operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., while offering daily guided tours to the operations. The facility will have ten full-time, and six part-time employees, staff said.

The commission also approved a Public Convenience or Necessity Finding (PCN) due to an over concentration of 11 off-sale and 10 on-site alcohol establishments in the census tract.

City staff also expressed support for the project.

“(The project) will create a new destination and meeting place for Vallejo’s diverse community, as well as, provide jobs for Vallejo residents.”

Monday’s decision comes a few months after the Vallejo City Council approved an ordinance which removes the restriction that on-site tasting rooms — part of a wine and beer manufacturing operation — must be located 1,000 feet from each other.

“The removal of this requirement closely matches regulations in neighboring cities — Napa, Fairfield, and Concord — which have no separation requirements for alcohol sales establishments,” according to a December 2015 staff report.

Staff also stipulated in the same report that wine and beer manufacturing “is known as a key industry in the region and predicted to have continual future job growth in Vallejo.”

http://www.timesheraldonline.com/article/NH/20160202/NEWS/160209959

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