SLO Brew move gains council approval

November 21, 2012

After months of debate, the San Luis Obispo City Council approved the relocation of SLO Brewing Company to Higuera Street on a core block of downtown.

SLO Brew will move half a block from 1119 Garden Street to 736/738 Higuera Street, where it will take over the 15,000 square foot Carissa Building between Garden and Broad streets. The move makes way for the Garden Street Terrace project, developed as well by SLO Brew owner Hamish Marshall. SLO Brew’s current building must also undergo a seismic retrofit by 2015.

Though the council opposed numerous aspects of the proposed project at its initial hearing on the matter, it voted 4-0 Tuesday to allow the relocation of the all-in-one restaurant, bar, brewery and concert venue. Councilman Dan Carpenter, who owns commercial property in the area of the relocation, recused himself from the hearing due to a conflict of interest.

The council did, however, impose nearly 40 conditions on the project on top of the conditions Marshall agreed to following during the previous hearing.

Most notably, SLO Brew management agreed to sizably reduce the number of occupants it will allow inside the building. SLO Brew will have a maximum occupancy of 191 in its first floor bar and restaurant, as opposed to the 257 it planned for. The maximum occupancy of the second floor concert auditorium dropped from 600 to 473.

Although the council initially demanded that project planners remove a proposed rooftop patio from the design, SLO Brew management insisted that the rooftop experience was the “crown jewel” of the new facility. After many public speakers voiced their support for the rooftop patio and some complained that parking garages provided the only rooftop views in town, the council approved of the patio under restricted conditions.

The rooftop section of the building will function primarily as a restaurant, instead of a bar, with a maximum occupancy reduced from 145 to 49 people. Downtown Brew will serve food on the roof until 11 p.m. each night, upon which the patio section must close. The city will only allow quiet background music on the rooftop.

SLO Brew’s relocation passed the planning commission unanimously at the higher capacity and with much fewer restrictions on development. But, the citizens group Save Our Downtown appealed the project in order to dramatically reduce its size. The council first heard the appeal in September, but it continued the hearing until Tuesday and asked that SLO Brew planners return with a smaller project and no rooftop patio.

Though the developer did not eliminate the patio, they did return with a reduced capacity plan that the council viewed as a fair compromise between SLO Brew and Save Our Downtown.

“I feel really that this process has come up with a good compromise,” Mayor Jan Marx said. “The reduction in the size that was first proposed is significant to me.”

Councilwoman Kathy Smith thanked Save Our Downtown for appealing the project.

“I think we’ve learned a lot just listening to each other during these meetings,” Smith said.

The council approved the project after a four-hour hearing that included comments from the applicant, appellant and nearly 40 members of the public, most of whom supported the relocation.

SLO Brew owner Hamish Marshall said during the hearing that the many conditions the city was placing on his new facility restricted his ability to profit from the project and even finance it.

“It’s really hard to do business anyway, and to have conditions written upon conditions upon conditions makes it even more difficult to manage those conditions,” Marshall said.

Bill Hales, owner of Frog and Peach, a competing bar located right beside where SLO Brew is moving, supported Marshall and said the city imposes enough conditions as is on bars.

“You’re under more regulation than anybody but banks.” Hales said.

Save Our Downtown representative Alan Cooper said his organization was not trying to put SLO Brew out business, but rather asking that it relocate at its current size.


16 Comments

  1. msminiver says:

    So Hamish Marshall a favorite of the City Council and close friend to all of them gets another sweat project approved. Most property owners in SLO town had to complete their seismic retrofits by 2012, but not Hamish Marshall and the Copelands. Sweat deals negotiated on behalf of the corrupt council and administration by a corrupt building official and corrupt director of planning. If only the residents knew that Hamish Marshall met and spoke to the Community Development Director and chief building official, who advised him to ask or that is propose more than he was originally asking for and for more than he would get. Then all could allow council to negotiate a compromise, thus Council and staff truly look like they are looking out for the community’s best interest. What a sham, then Marx boldly states “I feel really that this process has come up with a good compromise. The reduction in the size that was first proposed is significant to me.” Let’s see if Hamish Marshall has to pay proportionate building permit fees like the rest of us. By the way, guess whose relative has worked off and on for Hamish Marshall’s company over the years?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

    • obispan says:

      You refer to “sweat deals” twice and allege corruption at City Hall, could you explain both?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Downtown Bob says:

      Sweet deal? Sounds like he got screwed on pretty much everything that he wanted to do in order to make obey….which is the whole point of developments, bars, housing etc.

      I wonder if he has not had to retrofit buildings that are going to be torn down for his project.

      Btw retrofitting is a joke anyways. The better solution is to raze the building and build a replica in its place that conforms to all the lovely standards that we now require. But the brains in the City make the poor business owner secure a crusty old building so that it will supposedly not fall down during an earthquake….but will be damaged beyond repair. Smart.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  2. Slowerfaster says:

    Kathy Smith is a prosty for corporate slaveholders . ..the rump group “Save Our Downtown”
    …meaning, “Save our lazy asses from actually having to compete in a level environment . ”

    WHAT A BUNCH OF SELF-ENTITLED JERKS !

    Jan Marks is a rollover. Twit City !

    The others are just luke-warm stadium seats !

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • r0y says:

      OK, slowerfaster, I know you’re a raging lefty and often go out on tangents (which is fine, you are honest and I know where you are)… but this post is just… well, it’s really out there. No, I mean *REALLY* out there. I think I can “sort of” figure it out, but it seems like you had a faster brain/mouth than typing fingers and we’re missing a lot of clarity.

      I got that “prosty” is now the cutesy form of prostitute, that you feel Kath Smith is a whore for some corporate pimp… OK, I don’t know the woman, so I am not sure; still, is calling a woman a whore good for your position? How do you think that might set up the rest of your post?

      Then you rush into competing in a level environment… whatever that is – don’t we all exist in the same environment (not ideologically, obviously, but physically). Maybe you meant “level playing field” which we all know is lefty for “more successful people need to be restricted” and the less successful need be given a handicap.

      Bunch of self-entitled jerks… don’t know who you’re on about at this point.

      Then Jan Marx (hard to forget that spelling, think Karl – should come easy for you! *zing*). Anyway, I agree she is a rollover (and we’re politically opposite, how is it we agree on THAT!). Twit City – a nice reference to SLO? I’d agree, to an extent. Clearly many senior staff and management fall into that moniker.

      The others… again, not sure who you’re on about here, either.

      Overall, I like the passion, but I’m guessing it came out faster than you could clearly type it in. Must have been quite a rush! ;-)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. leatherpink says:

    Hamish Marhsall has never worked a day in his life but is getting free money from his families billions in Austrilla, called WestPac, the second largest domestic bank in Austrilla. They profitted $8.6 billion last year alone as Hamish has spent more then $600 milllion in properties here in San Luis, that doesn’t include properties in Santa Barbara and other stuff in Arizona, Oregon, Washington and etc states. Has nothing to do with banking where WestPac makes its money in.

    The Downtown Brew is a wild idea and is a bad idea for people living near downtown and the pushing more bars in one particular area than spreading them out.

    did you know that Cal Coast News monitors all my comments, they sure do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10

    • Downtown Bob says:

      You are a fool to think that Hamish has not worked a day in his life. I have met him and his wife Jill. They are hardworking business people and apparently you have some bad blood towards them because you believe they have more than you do for whatever reason. Work harder so you can do well yourself, all Hamish has done is provide a lot of needed jobs for those here in SLO. Maybe he should just keep the money in the bank.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

      • r0y says:

        Sounds like he’s been properly conditioned to despise success. It’s a growing theme: success and hard work are evil IF you profit. The more you profit from your labors, the more evil you are.

        I suppose we’re all supposed to just toil away in the muck and never get anywhere.

        How can leatherpink be angry for someone bringing in $600 million to our area? I just cannot wrap my head around these lunatics. Yeah, please stay out and keep your millions away from us! *sigh*

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    • whitefeather says:

      leatherpink

      You do not know what you are talking about. That is a Major bank in Australia. His family is middle class according to our president. He works an easy 50+ hours a week.

      Your investment numbers are insane and you have no clue as to what you are talking about. Since SLO Brew employs 60-70 people downtown how many jobs do you create down there again? So you propose spreading bars into what the neighborhoods instead?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. r0y says:

    Such micro-managing of the producers by the leeches… sometimes I wonder who the heck these city planners think they are.

    The whole idea of “plan check” is ridiculous – what is the point? To take more money in the way of fees from people who are taking a risk to run a business? It sure as hell is NOT public safety and concern, as anything missed – well, you cannot go back and sue the city for missing it. It is always the owner’s liability, whether the city approves anything or not. It is hard to think of the building department as anything but leeches looking for a reason to exist and pay their over-inflated salaries and benefits.

    Besides, as soon as any new board is morphed out of the existing one, they’ll change everything again. More “reason to exist” type crap.

    I hope SLO Brew becomes a roaring success in their new digs as well as Mr. Marshall’s Garden Street Terrace. Lord knows he’s had to put up with enough of San Luis Obispo while paying for them to exist (not to mention employ people and provide a needed service).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

    • catdude says:

      So, planners are just “leeches”? We don’t need no stinkin’ planning, huh? Just trust the developers to do everything correctly in the interest of the public, profit is just incidental, huh? Just let ‘em build & let ‘er rip, huh? Brilliant, roy, just brilliant. How’s that tinfoil hat fit? Perfect attire for a tea party….Critical thinking?…Critical thinking?…We don’t need no critical thinking!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

      • Downtown Bob says:

        What has the planning and conditions gotten this town but nothing but service jobs, government jobs, and extremely high paying management jobs while our Street rot, parks are overrun by bums, and a financial obligations to retirees looming to bankrupt us all?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

      • r0y says:

        To answer your questions: YES, they are just leeches. No, do not trust developers – this is why Board of Reviews exist. If they build and rip, and people do not like that, then said people would move, not shop there, etc.

        I have no tinfoil hat, but one could guess that critical thinking should also include freedom, as the two go hand-in-hand. Our problem today is, nothing is allowed to fail; we have not seen a truly “Free Market” in over a hundred and fifty years, so no one actually thinks it would work (or worse, it’d be a disaster).

        Do not confuse development with planning. The Building and Planning Departments true function is to exist. Period. Plan-checking and code-enforcement is a joke, I mean think about this: if the city does not “catch” something and God forbid someone is hurt, is the city at fault? Do they have any liability? No they do not. It is always all on the owner. So why have plan-check? Do you really not think that the owner, his/her insurance company, and the contractors, architects and engineers (who all have liability) are not going to care about safety? Really? They are all at fault, not the governing agency. So again, I ask, why do we need plan check? Why is there code enforcement? The best enforcement of code is liability and the threat of it: we have plenty of that in our country.

        Sorry if much of this went over your head while you rush to judge me, rather than dealing with the topic or my reply. It happens a lot with anonymous internet postings.

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        • catdude says:

          One does not start an intelligent discussion with an idiotic statement like “all planners are leeches”. All planners are leeches? The implication being no planning is needed? Just let ‘em build, and if there is a problem , why, they will get sued. Get real, please. I could name a now retired plumbing contractor that worked in SLO. He never got a permit for any of his work. He just played the averages; when he got caught, he’d pay the little fine and fix it correctly. Not every developer is dishonest (I figure there must SOME honest ones out there.) People will cut corners to make more money. Were you around when Alex Madonna had to tear up a bunch of sidewalks in SLO he built that were sub-standard?

          Years ago I came to the realization that developers are not all greedheads, they just look that way. They think differently than regular people. Case in point: Hollister Peak. Remember the Supervisorial elections years ago when the proposed development of Hollister Peak was the issue? Developers wanted to put a hotel, golf course, convention center, gas station, etc. – at/on Hollister Peak! How could any person with an ounce of soul look at that beautiful spot and envision it covered with development? The developers were salivating at the thought of “cracking open” Chorro Valley. Can you imagine? Highway one from SLO to Morro Bay would like like a strip mall. Planning? We don’t need no stinkin’ planning.

          Sorry if my comment went over your head, it is apparent logical/critcall thinking is not your forte, Mr anonymous ‘rOy”

          To tell the truth, I really don’t have the time for this nonsense, it is just sometimes i read comments so ridiculous they beg a reply. You see, unlike a lot of CONS with so much time on their hands they can spend the day writing comments, I have to work. I am one of those people that don’t exist to right-wingers: a self-employed, self-sufficient Liberal. I started my business in my garage 26 years ago and have been self-employed since.I make things. I pay for my own health insurance and everything else. And i don’t mind paying taxes to be a part of our society. Not that I LIKE taxes; it is just necessary.

          And now I have to go to work Have a nice day.

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