Rezoning paves way for microbrewery

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

J.D. Guidry of Rally Point Brewing Company answers questions for the Marble Falls City Council Tuesday, May 2. The council approved a zoning change that will allow for landscaped and on-street parking for a new microbrewery and restaurant his family proposes for Avenue G.

 

 

 

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

The Marble Falls City Council on Tuesday, May 2, approved a rezoning request that will pave the way for a new microbrewery and restaurant on Avenue G and reviewed action before the 85th Texas Legislature that could threaten Home Rule autonomy.

Assistant City Manager Caleb Kraenzel explained that changing the property from General Commercial Base District (C-3) to Planned Development District (PDD) with base zoning of Main Street District (MSD) would allow options such as on-street and landscaped parking such as the cafe has constructed.

JD and Blake Guidry of Rally Point Brewing Company were on hand to answer questions about their project at 207 Avenue G east and across the street from the Blue Bonnet Cafe. That would reduce impervious cover and dovetail with the Downtown Master Plan and the city's Comprehensive Plan.

“We will have live music, but we are not really a music venue; we want a family-friendly place, not a bar,” said J.D., in response to questions about noise questions.

Following approval by the Planning & Zoning Commission April 6, J.D. explained the focus would be on craft beer in the taproom and quality food and “most importantly, adding to the community we hope to become a part of.”

Beyond sales to local retailers and to customers at their own licensed facility, brewery production is planned for building a brand locally before expanding distribution.

“The first year of production could be up to 3,000 barrels of ail or malt liquor,” says the Guidrys' prospectus. “By year three, the RPBC production is projected to expand to 10,000 barrels of ail or malt liquor per year.”

“We hope for three flagship beers and ales,” said J.D., a brewmaster in addition to being a part owner the family business.

The renovation of the former auto sales building may take into the summer, but the finished refurbishment will employ natural stone and aim for an industrial look “compatible with Marble Falls.”

“We have to get the building renovated before we can apply for a federal license (to open a brewery to produce and sell),” he said. “Then comes state and city licensing.”

In other action, the council approved Teresa Carosella to serve out a term to January 2018 on the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) Board No. 1.

Mayor John Packer proclaimed May 7-13 Drinking Water Week and Public Service Recognition Week and the Month of May to be Building Safety Month, recognizing employees involved in all three endeavors in the city.

In addition to an update on the Marble Falls Independent School District by Superintendent Chris Allen, PhD, the council heard from one citizen at the top of their agenda.

Maggie Venour, a resident on Northwood Drive appeared on behalf of her neighborhood to discuss a topic that has come to the council again and again—traffic and, in particular, truck traffic. Like Bluebonnet Drive that begins where Avenue N ends at Ranch to Market Road 1431, Northwood begins where Avenue Q ends.

“We have speeding up to 70 mph and, now, big trucks have discovered they can skirt between 1431 and US 281 on our street.

“Trucks are too big for the road; they are damaging the pavement,” she said. “The engines are loud and it is only going to get worse with H-E-B construction.”

Venour pointed to the break between two school zones as unnecessary: “This is (all) a school zone where children walk to Marble Falls Middle School and Marble Falls Elementary, but it has no sidewalks.”

She said if neighbors drive a little under the speed limit to slow traffic or walk with their families, they are heckled and threatened by motorists.

“One resident's cat was run over. That was just a pet, but what's next, a child?”

Following the final presentation, the council authorized City Attorney Patty Akers to work with City Manager Mike Hodge and other city staff to draft a letter to elected officials outlining some of the concerns being raised by legislation on the table in Austin.

Akers presented a smorgasbord of issues that are being bandied about small cities and the Texas Municipal League (TML).

“The TML described 2015 as one of the worst legislative sessions in history for Texas cities,” she said. “Now it is the 'good ol' days' (in this) extended agenda to take away local control.”

Among issues she discussed in more detail were:

  • Proposed ad valorem tax cap in which an automatic rollback election would be triggered by a five percent tax increase

  • State adopted zoning codes

  • Annexation limitations

  • Restrictions on the share paid by developers for new infrastructure

  • Blocking short-term rental (STR) ordinances

  • Negation of city ordinances concerning repair and replacement of manufactured housing

  • Authorization for networks and phone companies to install equipment on city sign and utility poles and water towers at a small price

 

Akers pointed the council members and interested citizens to the TML website, www.tml.org, for more detail on bills that have an impact on cities, the history of the bills and means of contacting state elected officials. She urged fast action, however, for any concerned about “a movement away from home rule and towards control by the state legislature.”

“There are more than a handful of bills on a track through committees to come to a vote,” she said, explaining why constituents need to make know where they stand. “You can't tell when they will come out (for a vote) or what will be added to them on the floor.”

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