A barber shop occupies the current site of the future Shoot the Moon pub (Cole Schisler photo)

A barber shop occupies the current site of the future Shoot the Moon pub (Cole Schisler photo)

Shoot the Moon pub passes public hearing stage

Rod Alsop and Jon Ludtke’s proposed pub is one step closer after a packed public hearing

Rod Alsop and Jon Ludtke are one step closer to opening Shoot the Moon neighbourhood pub after a packed Town of Ladysmith public hearing Tuesday night.

Council voted unanimously in favour of bylaw amendments that will allow the project to proceed. The proposed bylaws will allow a maximum 200-square-metre neighbourhood pub at 202/204 Dogwood Drive by amending the Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw to allow a neighbourhood pub under C1 zoning. The bylaw amendment has been referred to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure as the property is within 800 metres of a highway.

Council adopted a bylaw amendment that will allow variances to the zoning bylaw landscaping requirements through the development approval process where the abutting residential parcels would be buffered through alternative measures such as topography, non-commercial land uses, other structures, or landscaping, and existing vegetation.

Many of the speakers at the public hearing spoke on whether or not they supported the pub in principle. However, Town Council was limited in their consideration of the project strictly to the question of land use, and what an allowable land use at 202/204 Dogwood Drive is.

Alsop and Ludtke are proposing a family brewpub with approximately 40 seats indoors and 20 seats on a proposed outdoor patio. The number of seats will be dependant on the final design and occupancy limits. They have no plans to alter the existing footprint of the building. Hours of operation will be from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm Sunday to Thursday, and 11:00 am to 11:00 pm Friday and Saturday.

“Our brewery model is for in house service, and growler fills to go. There will be no manufacturing for packaging and distribution. We are not proposing a large-scale production brewery,” Ludtke said.

Ludtke said they expect to brew six batches per month, with approximately three hours of brewing time per batch. They plan to have one delivery day per week with product received at the front of the pub, rather than in the alleyway behind the pub. Most of the food products they use will be sourced from local businesses like Old Town Bakery, 49th Parallel Grocer, and Bouma Meats.

Speakers in favour of the pub said they look forward to enjoying a neighbourhood pub without having to drive to Chemainus or Nanaimo to do so. Another positive is that the pub would attract tourists to Ladysmith. Speakers against the pub sited a lack of parking, potential dangers through increased traffic, and an increase in the alcohol consumption in the area.

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There was also concern about the number of pubs coming to Ladysmith, with a neighbourhood pub proposed as part of Fred Green’s Jailhouse development, and the eventual return of the Traveller’s Hotel on top of the already existing establishments like Zack’s Lounge, Fox & Hound, and the Sportsman Bar.

Ladysmith resident Jo Sheridan, who spoke against the proposed Jailhouse development at the old police station on Belaire Street, spoke in favour of the Dogwood neighbourhood pub.

“I think a very important thing is there would be no absentee landlord, because the Alsops and their young children reside on the premises. I also know the Alsop family has a terrific rapport with their neighbours. I know Rod a little bit, and he exemplifies the kind of young family man that Ladysmith is so eager to support and retain… He has a terrific plan for an attractive venture, which would be another plus for Ladysmith,” Sheridan said.

Anita Hamilton, who lives beside the proposed pub, did not share Sheridan’s sentiment.

“In our communications after the Town meeting, Rod, you told me you’re going to teach people how to drink responsibly. I’ve thought about this perspective of yours for awhile, and I don’t believe you. You also stated that you would hold people to having only one or two drinks. For a drinking establishment, this is ludicrous, and a losing proposition. Again, I don’t believe you. The only benefit I see for this neighbourhood pub is financially to improve you and others to benefit from the alcohol,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton added that she does not feel Alsop has been truthful about access to the building, road access, and patron capacity. She said the pub appears to be developing into a far greater capacity than parking spaces allow for.

Russ Barling, who lives on Forward Road, was also concerned about the issue of parking in the area. Barling said he did not know whether or not he supported the project, because the designs that have been made available to the public will not be the design of the pub when it’s finished.

“Here’s my concern based on the old design, and I have no idea whether or not the new design addressed the concerns we had at the informal meeting. There’s 40 seats in the restaurant, 20 seats outdoors – it used to be 50 and 20 – even at that rate you had 11, 12 parking spots. Put two people in a car – and that’s reasonable to assume – you’re nowhere near enough parking spots for what you’re proposing. So, what we’re going to have is people driving up and down looking for parking spots, and I know where they’re going to park – they’re going to park on Forward Road.”

Barling advocated for the full plans to be made public and for council to host a ‘meaningful’ public consultation about the pub.

The final design plans for the interior of the pub were not required under the public hearing process, as the hearing was around amending bylaws for the land use of 202/204 Dogwood.

In order to build the proposed patio, Alsop and Ludtke will have to apply for a development permit. Internal changes would require a building permit, and would not be made public unless Alsop and Ludtke chose to do so. Zoning compliance will be checked in both the development and building permit stages.

After the hearing concluded, Ludtke was confident that the pub will bring benefit to the surrounding community.

“It’s very encouraging. All of our plans are contingent on getting this approval, without this we couldn’t move forward. With this decision we can now move forward with our plan,” he said.