A new pub could open in Ladysmith

Notice is being sent out regarding an application for a 100-seat neighbourhood pub and micro-brewery in downtown Ladysmith.

A new pub and micro-brewery could be opening in downtown Ladysmith.

Bruce Findlay has applied to Ladysmith council for a temporary use permit (TUP), which would allow a 100-seat neighbourhood pub including a micro-brewery at 11 High St. (the old Home Hardware building).

The TUP would allow the pub for a two-year period with one renewal, and council is hoping that sometime in the next year, the Town of Ladysmith’s Official Community Plan (OCP) will change to allow a three-year renewal period after unanimously voting  to proceed with statutory notice for the TUP for a two-year period and direct staff to amend the OCP to increase the renewal period July 16.

Statutory notice provides an opportunity for public review of the proposed permit. Council will have to set a date, time and place to consider a resolution regarding the permit, and notice will be delivered to neighbouring property owners and advertisements will be placed in the newspaper.

Findlay’s application will also now be referred to a joint meeting of the town’s Advisory Planning Commission, Advisory Design Panel and Heritage Revitalization Advisory Commission for review and comment.

The purpose of a TUP is to allow a use not permitted by the town’s zoning bylaw. These permits are included in the town’s OCP as a short-term alternative for a commercial or industrial land use that may not warrant a change to the land use designation or zoning of land. A temporary use permit can be issued for a maximum of two years, with one renewal of the permit.

The subject property is zoned C-2, which does not permit neighborhood pubs. Because a neighborhood pub is licensed as such by the Provincial Liquor Licensing Authority, council will receive a referral from the Provincial Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, and specific criteria must be considered by council in its review of the referral. Council must gather the views of residents and businesses as part of this referral.

The proposed 100-seat neighbourhood pub and micro-brewery would be located on the first floor of the old Home Hardware building at 11 High St. The proposal includes extensive renovation of the building façade. An outdoor patio would be located in the former garden centre area.

The hours of operation are proposed to be Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to either midnight or 1 a.m.

Findlay anticipates the pub would create between 30 and 50 jobs, and at least 50 per cent would be full-time.

Parking was a concern during the council meeting, and staff had suggested that council consider requiring that the off-street parking for the neighborhood pub temporary use permit be met by payment of $4,000 for each of 13 parking spaces, paid into the Municipal Parking Reserve Fund.

The parking requirements in the zoning bylaw require one space for every five seats for a neighborhood pub. Based on 100 seats, this pub would require 20 off-street parking spaces. The town’s practice has been to determine a parking credit for the historic use of commercial buildings in the downtown, and for this building, the parking credit would be seven spaces, which would reduce the required number of spaces to 13.

The applicant is proposing zero off-street parking spaces because he feels there will be no parking issue after 5 p.m., and the location will allow customers to walk to the pub during busy daytime hours, according to staff’s report to council.

Council decided to defer this issue until Findlay applies for a more permanent rezoning.

“My concern is this is a temporary use permit — it is a use, but it is a temporary use permit, and my understanding also is we are going to be reviewing the parking bylaw during the rezoning process over the next 12 months, and my recommendation is that we defer this to a time when the applicant is actually applying for rezoning, not now while it’s a temporary use permit,” said Mayor Rob Hutchins.

Coun. Gordon Horth cautioned that there is high demand for parking in that area.

“I think if we try to facilitate, as Coun. Steve Arnett says, an exciting application for downtown, council may be faced with taking action regarding parking before we deal with rezoning if they’re wildly successful,” he said. “Parking is at a premium, and council may need to take some action to create some additional parking in the downtown.”

John Manson, the town’s director of infrastructure services, recommended that the applicant do a traffic study to see if there are some solutions and also felt it would be wise for the town to update its traffic study, which currently contains data from 2003.

Horth cautioned that a traffic study should be more comprehensive than one development, as council should look at the whole downtown area.

“I think it really is symptomatic of our downtown, as opposed to these folks just coming in,” he said. “As much as I think if they are wildly successful, they will cause some higher demand for parking, I think we should be looking at downtown.”