SLO Brewing Company move hits roadblock
September 26, 2012
The San Luis Obispo City Council decided that it was not yet ready to finalize the move of restaurant, bar and nightclub, SLO Brewing Company, from its current location on Garden Street around the corner to Higuera Street.
Council members voted 4-0 Tuesday night to continue on a later date the hearing of the relocation appeal filed by the concerned citizen group Save Our Downtown. Councilman Dan Carpenter recused himself due to property ownership in the area.
Despite hearing multiple hours of testimony from nearly 50 speakers, most of whom supported the proposed relocation, the council voiced numerous concerns with the proposed project. In particular, council members objected to the increase in capacity from the current venue to the proposed new one — the Carissa Building at 736/738 Higuera Street. Including a rooftop patio, the 15,000 square foot Carissa Building could hold a maximum of 1,221 occupants, 600 of whom could fit in the second floor auditorium intended to hold concerts. The total maximum occupancy would increase 65 percent from the Garden Street location.
In postponing its decision, the council instructed city staff to work with Hamish Marshall, owner of the property, and his planning team to reduce the capacity of the proposed new development.
“If this were simply similar size in terms of square footage occupancy, this would be a true relocation,” Mayor Jan Marx said.
Marx suggested that the council delay its decision on the venue relocation until after November 6, following the election where the mayor position and two council seats are up for election. City staff said it would set a target date of November 20 for the item to return to council.
In addition to demanding a reduced-size proposal, the council directed the SLO Brewing Company team to consider eliminating the rooftop patio, reducing the hours of operation and altering the event cuing plans so not to cause disturbances in the area around the creek and mission. Likewise, the council objected to the proposed first-floor design of an interchangeable restaurant and bar.
Advocates for SLO Brewing Company said the increase in venue size would be necessary to attract big name bands and performing artists to the area.
“We’re asking for a move of our operation about 60 yards,” SLO Brewing Company manager Todd Newman said.
But, the council did not see the relocation that way.
“We really are a very small community,” Councilwoman Kathy Smith said. “We don’t have to be the center of the entertainment world.”