The Town of Comox has given its support behind a proposed patio for Land & Sea Brewing Company on Guthrie Road.
At last week’s council meeting, council unanimously approved providing support to permit a 38-person capacity outdoor patio at 2040 Guthrie Road to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.
In May, owner Jason Walker told council he has been working on the patio idea for more than a year and said it would help as many small businesses – including his – which have struggled lately due to the economic shutdown of COVID-19.
While the recommendation passed, some councillors raised concerns, specifically around parking.
“We see many, many, many people in favour and a few opposed as well. I was just wondering if there’s a way for Land & Sea to go back and open the discussion around how to solve in particular the specific neighbours who are upset at the parking situation there,” says Coun. Pat McKenna. “I know it’s a longstanding discussion but it really resonated through the opposition letters – parking is still a large issue.”
Acting mayor Ken Grant suggested engaging with the owner to help create a plan for parking, however, he explained the motion was directed for the LCRB and parking is a separate issue.
Parking was always an issue since the business was approved, explains Coun. Maureen Swift. She adds her hope was that the issue would “(settle) out … but it still seems to be a real issue with some people.
“I know they made arrangements with the Pentecostal church – I think they’re doing a lot. I would like to see a little bit more; I would like to see some kind of plan going forward.”
Coun. Alex Bissinger reminded council the Town’s zoning and bylaws permit a limited amount of parking and questioned why council would place the onus on the owner when it’s their own set of rules which initially were applied when the business was approved.
Following a vote to forward the recommendation to the LCRB, Bissinger reminded council during a second motion for the Town to reach out to the brewery to establish, encourage and examine extra parking opportunities and establish a harmonious partnership with their neighbours, that Land & Sea currently has a parking plan.
She adds they have an agreement set up with the Comox Pentecostal Church and are offering discounts for people who use other transportation other than cars.
“I don’t want to be babysitting a business that already seems to be good neighbours within the community. It may just be some old blood from when they first opened up. I feel like Land & Sea is doing a lot of progress of lessening the impacts on surrounding businesses.”
The second motion passed with Bissinger opposed.