The city’s most famous brand of beer is looking to up its game on its home turf.
The Nelson Brewing Company (NBC) is amending its current liquor license to a lounge license which would essentially allow them to sell more than beer samplers from its 514 Latimer Street location.
City council approved the company’s temporary use permit to allow NBC to operate a neighbourhood pub — under the city’s Zoning Bylaw — in the existing 30-person tasting room space, between the hours of 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.
In order to change their liquor license NBC had to obtain approval from the city, with the request reviewed to make sure that it was consistent with the Zoning Bylaw.
“It is important to highlight the fact that the built form and land uses on these parcels are an anomaly in relation to the predominantly residential areas in which they are located,” said city director of Development Services Sebastien Arcand in his report to council.
In pursuing the change to its license NBC felt it needed to expand its operation on home soil.
“Due to the changing landscape of the craft brewery industry, the NBC feels that they can no longer be competitive with their current operation,” said Arcand.
Coun. Nicole Charlwood liked the temporary use aspect of the permit.
“I’m really curious to see how that will work out in the community because it is increasing liquor consumption in a residential area,” she said. “But I can make assumptions. I like the idea of supporting local business, giving them the opportunity to try a new business model.”
Although the location is in Uphill parking will not be an issue. But since the building pre-dates the 2013 bylaw and the proposal does not “create new floor area,” no additional parking spaces are required as part of this application.
“Given that the use and scale is not changing significantly, staff are of the opinion that the parking increase will be negligible and any increases would not be perceivable,” said Arcand.
In the zone
The property, known as 514 Latimer, sits on eight 25-foot by 120 foot parcels — typical Uphill lot dimensions — with a lot coverage that is close to 100 per cent.
Around three quarters of the frontage along Latimer Street is occupied by the building and is zoned M1 (Industrial) “to provide for general light industrial uses.”
The zone is constructed to recognize the historical industrial built form and operation on the property.
“That being said, they are part of the unique urban fabric of these neighbourhoods and maintaining viability of these buildings will likely require flexibility in land use regulations over the long term,” said Arcand.
Source: City of Nelson Sept. 6 agenda
History is brewing
For 31 years NBC has been operating at the Latimer location and the tasting room — which is a space to sample products — was opened in 2017.
The tasting room was allowed under NBC’s manufacturing license and provincial regulations, and was deemed to be an ancillary use to the brewery, therefore no land use permission was required.
Although the property has no official heritage recognition it was developed in 1899 to specifically house a brewery, one of three breweries in the area “given the proximity of Ward Creek which supplied fresh water for the operations.”
A brewery operated in the Latimer location until 1963, with much of the building sitting empty for 25 years until the NBC began operation in 1991 as a craft brewery.