Rock Hill leaders are one step closer to making it easier for new beer to be poured in the city.
The Rock Hill City Council approved on first reading Monday night an ordinance to establish craft breweries as a new type of business under the city’s zoning laws. The new measure would make it easier for small craft breweries, limited to 15,000 barrels of production a year, to come to Rock Hill, according to Bill Meyer, the city’s planning and development director.
Under current zoning laws, a potential brewery would need to classify itself as a restaurant, bar or manufacturing facility. As of now, they would be restricted to only a few business districts in town, Meyer said.
The new ordinance would potentially broaden that reach, allowing certain brew pubs in limited commercial (LC), community commercial (CC), general commercial (GC), downtown (DTWN), industry general (IG), industry heavy (IH) and industry business (IB) areas.
Most of those areas would classify breweries as conditional use, rather than permitted use. The Zoning Board of Appeals could be used to determine whether a brewery fits a particular area.
“They could be allowed to go into some zoning districts where normally we have restaurants,” Meyer said. “We have a lot of people looking to come here, but in the current zoning laws, they’re limited only to commercial areas, so it’s hard to find a suitable building location where people can find them.”
A craft brewery is defined in the ordinance as a business that brews beer primarily for on-site consumption and retail sale, but also includes wholesale or off-site sales. Certain breweries, like Legal Remedy Brewing on Oakland Avenue, may have on-site tasting rooms or food service.
A brewery would be limited to 10,000 square feet of production area, up to 3,000 square feet for a tasting room/brewpub, and up to 3,000 square feet for outside seating and activities.
Hours of operation for the tasting room/brewpubs would be 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday. Music or entertainment could be provided, assuming it would not create a nuisance to adjoining properties.
Management would be required to provide a written plan for potential impacts on surrounding neighborhoods and businesses, including acknowledgement of city noise standards, lighting ordinances and parking guidelines.
$443 million The economic impact of South Carolina’s craft brew industry, according to the Brewers Assocation
The Rock Hill Planning Commission recommends approval of the ordinance.
Last year, South Carolina’s craft brew industry had an economic impact of about $443 million, according to the Brewers Association, a non-profit trade organization. California’s craft beer production has a $6.8 billion economic impact, according to the Brewers Association.
Meyer told the council Monday night that the city is in talks with at least four brew/pubs that are considering Rock Hill.
“Previously, it was hard to know whether to count it as a bar, a restaurant or as a manufacturing facility,” he said. “Depending on the business model of each one, it could have elements of all three of them.”
The ordinance mentioned limiting hours of operation for production to 6 a.m.-9 p.m., but some council members asked staff to broaden those hours.
We have a lot of people looking to come here, but in the current zoning laws, they’re limited only to commercial areas, so it’s hard to find a suitable building location where people can find them.
Bill Meyer, Rock Hill’s planning and development director
Staff also was asked to clarify wording on parking space and loading/unloading restrictions.
The city council will next meet 6 p.m. Aug. 14 at city hall, and will likely vote a second time on the measure. Amendments to the city ordinance typically require two readings by the city council.