A Cumberland brewery wants a little more shade for outdoor customers.
For the May 9 council meeting, the Cumberland Brewing Company on Dunsmuir Avenue had made a request to the village for a heritage alteration permit and variance permit to extend its existing rear patio.
This would mean a small increase to the lot coverage area, but the main questions for council surrounded parking issues related to the application.
The business applied for a liquor licence change in early 2021 for a temporary patio expansion in response to COVID-19 rule changes that facilitated outdoor drinking and dining. It first received a heritage alteration permit to add the canopy in 2017.
“Now they wish to expand that canopy, and they will require a building permit to do so,” manager of development services Courtney Simpson told council. “This requires an examination of parking requirements.”
Another consideration is a storage container at the back of the property that would be moved, though the owner will be painting it to match the upper storey of the building.
As far as parking, with the enlargement, the issue would be the loss of a couple of off-street parking spaces. An option is for applicants to provide cash in lieu for the spaces. Part of the request would be to keep the amount for a space at $3,800, or the amount it was at the time of the business’s liquor licence expansion.
“Since then, it’s been increased to $10,000,” Simpson said.
Other parts of the request include reducing the required number of stalls from 20 to six, as well as changes for special parking stalls, loading space and the definition of bicycle parking spaces to permit bike parking on site.
Staff had been hearing of potential problems associated with the cash in lieu increase for existing businesses in existing buildings that might be considering expansion. The in lieu funds are put aside for eventual parking in the community. Simpson said the increase might have been brought in for residential buildings, especially new ones under construction.
One suggestion was for staff to draft a policy that would take into account cash in lieu for parking spaces. Coun. Vickey Brown suggested they need more clarity around the commercial site cash in lieu options, and she wanted to know if council could approve the current request without referring to the heritage committee and Advisory Planning commission.
Coun. Sean Sullivan agreed with making a decision without referring to committees, saying, “I’d like to not hold up the proponent.”
Coun. Gwyn Sproule talked about potential for downtown parking behind the museum, as there was limited space elsewhere downtown, while Mayor Leslie Baird said the parking situation often depended on the time of day.
“It doesn’t seem to be as big an issue as people think it is. People can always find a place to park,” she said. “In the evenings, there’s no problems at all. I haven’t seen any yet.”
Following the discussion, council passed the motion to approve the heritage alteration permit and variance requests for 2732 Dunsmuir Ave., as well as have staff draft a policy for consideration of development variance permit applications for parking associated with existing businesses or heritage buildings in the VCMU-1 zone.