After twice delaying a decision on a rezoning application for a 14th Avenue property Creston town council voted unanimously to pass the bylaw’s third reading on Friday.
A third day of public hearings proved a charm for the Columbia Brewery, which has an offer to purchase a parcel of adjacent property, conditional on its rezoning from residential to light industrial.
Final approval of the rezoning will allow the brewery to construct a railway spur on its property that will provide for the storage of four railcars, two each holding malt and syrup. Brewery manager Murray Oswald estimates the four cars will provide for four or five days of brewing at peak capacity.
The third meeting included a key change to the brewery’s proposal, increasing the distance of the rail line to neighbouring residences.
Town manager Lou Varela reported that staff recommended approval of the application with conditions including “a site plan, developed to the satisfaction of staff, detailing a separation between the centre of the proposed spur line and adjacent residential construction of not less than 15 metres.” The original application would have put that distance at about six metres (20 feet).
Prior to its vote on the rezoning bylaw, Varela reminded council that the brewery’s offer to provide adjacent residential property owners with a landscape budget and a promise to work with CP Rail to keep train engines further from residences should not influence council’s decision.
“Such matters are recognized as being outside the enforcement capabilities of the municipality and should not be considered by council in their deliberation on the land use issue at hand,” she said.
Varela informed council that staff recommended the rezoning be approved, acknowledging the brewery’s efforts to mitigate potential noise, fumes, vibration and visual impacts on neighbouring properties. She also pointed out that the property in question, while it is currently zoned as residential, is designated industrial in the Official Community Plan.
About 30 citizens attended Friday’s special meeting, Mayor Ron Toyota said on Saturday. Coun. Scott Veitch removed himself from the discussions, declaring he was in a conflict of interest being the realtor of record on the property purchase.
“Personally, I am pleased with this result and especially that the local government process is being followed,” Toyota said. “This type of situation is never a total win-win but it did allow us to listen and then the applicant revised to try and satisfy the concerns.”