WAXAHACHIE — Microbrewers might have a new place to do business after a decision made Monday night by the Waxahachie City Council. The council approved a request to amend the code of ordinances to define for the permitting of microbreweries in the city.

Director of Planning Darren Groth told the council that, by updating the definition of their use, it would help determine where microbreweries can be located.

“The planning department has a couple of interested parties looking at microbrewery use in the city. What this is doing on the specific-use chart is that it offers a couple of locations with a specific use permit that are less intense commercially and in the industrial areas. [...] This is a request to add that use in locations where it is permissible,” Planning Director Darren Groth said. “We have had one individual who has expressed a lot of interest to move forward. They are in an industrial area, and it should be a smooth transition for them. We have had a couple of others come forward looking for a use like this to be defined. Hopefully, this is a modification to our existing zoning ordinance.”

Mayor Pro Tem Mark Singleton said he does not understand the necessity of making this change unless multiple people are coming in and wanting to open a microbrewery.

Groth said defining this use helps to bring clarity for city staff and prospective applicants that want to bring this type of business to Waxahachie.

“If we don’t have a definition for it, we typically try to find one, or it is a square peg in a round hole and one that might not work everywhere. What this allows is for a microbrewery, as opposed to industrial use, to be allowed in a commercial zoning area," Groth said. "This definition not only helps staff identify someone who comes to make a request. What this does, it not only adds clarity to what the process is and makes it hopefully easier to process these in the future. It also makes it easier for the prospective applicants. We have a clear chart now from this request where they can be located. We have a zoning map that is available online. It would have what the parking standards would be, what the definition is and what licenses are required.”

According to the Brewers Association website, craft brewers produced 24.5 million barrels and saw a 13 percent rise in volume and a 16 percent increase in retail dollar value in 2015. The retail dollar value was estimated at $22.3 billion, representing 21 percent of the market share.

“In 2015 the number of operating breweries in the U.S. grew 15 percent, totaling 4,269 breweries — the most at any time in American history. Small and independent breweries account for 99 percent of the breweries in operation, broken down as follows: 2,397 microbreweries, 1,650 brewpubs and 178 regional craft breweries,” the Brewers Association website states. “Throughout the year, there were 620 new brewery openings and only 68 closings. One of the fastest growing regions was the South, where four states — Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Texas — each saw a net increase of more than 20 breweries, establishing a strong base for future growth in the region. Combined with already existing and established breweries and brewpubs, craft brewers provided nearly 122,000 jobs, an increase of over 6,000 from the previous year.”

According to Thrillist.com, independent breweries are opening for business all across Texas. Some of these independent breweries in Dallas-Fort Worth include FireWheel Brewing Co. in Rowlett, Rahr & Sons in Fort Worth, Grapevine Craft Brewery in Farmers Branch, Bishop Cider Co. in the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff, Martin House Brewing in Fort Worth, Deep Ellum Brewing Company in Deep Ellum, and Legal Draft Beer Co. in Arlington.

The request was approved in a 3-1 vote, with Singleton voting in opposition.

The council also approved a request to replat four lots in the Lake Shore Acres Subdivision, located in the 100 block of Chisholm Trail. Several residents expressed their concern that the new homes would add to the flooding the area already receives from regular rainfall.

“We have had water come through the house. Everything used to flow really well down there. When the development started building up, we started to have more issues. We have been out there 30 years, and we have had water in the house a couple of times that it was bad enough that we have swept it out,” resident Shari Phillips said. “We have been lucky unlike some of our neighbors who have had to replace floors and things like that. When the water starts coming down off of Chisholm Trail over that road, it just washes everything out of our yards.”

Fellow resident Angie Slaten shared Phillips concerns about the flooding. Slaten told the council that the water overflows the drainage ditches and makes the area inaccessible. Slaten said she had known neighbors who have had to replace flooring in their homes several times because the water has gotten into their house.

“This happens all the time just within two or three inches of rain,” Slaten said. “There is so much water that comes down that creek that it is unreal.”

Developer Chris Acker addressed the council about some of the concerns. Acker said they are going to try to correct as many problems as they can and won’t be building on one of the lots due to its nature of flooding.

In other business the council

• Approved a request by Karl Hansen for a specific use permit for a garage accessory dwelling located at 201 Cynisca St.

• Approved to continue a request made by Brad Yates for a zoning Amendment from planned development of 21-commerical zoning district to a planned development multifamily zoning district one with a concept plan located at the southwest corner of Dunn Street and Second Street.

• Approved a preliminary plat for lots 1-3, Block A of the new Waxahachie Police Department building to be located off of Farley Street next to the Salvation Army.

• Approved awarding the bid of the Interstate Highway 35E lift station abandonment to Circle H Contractor of Midlothian in the amount of $122,093. 25. The work would include the installation of sewer gravity lines and utility holes around the existing lift station, removal of all pumps and equipment from the lift station, removal of the concrete top of the lift station and backfill with gravel and re-establish vegetation on the site.

• Approved an ordinance governing downtown customer parking spaces.

• Approved an ordinance canceling the city council election.

• Approved to authorize City Manager Paul Stevens to seek out services for a new city attorney due to the retirement of current City Attorney Steve Chapman.

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