The Provo Municipal council has approved amending the land use code to allow ancillary breweries in restaurants in two downtown zones, and in regional shopping center areas.
The vote was a struggle with council members Travis Hoban, David Shipley, Shannon Ellsworth and David Harding voting in favor of the amendment and Bill Fillmore, Dave Sewell and George Handley voting against. Harding asked to have a sunrise clause included in the amendment.
Brian Jones, city attorney, noted that a sunrise clause could help to separate the land use and licensing issues and give the council time to adopt licensing changes before brewpubs become permitted uses, if the council so chooses.
The ancillary breweries, or brew pub issue, has been a hotly contested discussion with residents and nonresidents who work or shop in Provo adding their voices.
On Tuesday, a second chance for comment from the public was allowed on the issue.
Comments included several people who favored the land use to allow brew pubs for economic value, to allow more diversity and to provide a welcoming atmosphere for those who may come from outside Provo.
Those who were opposed talked about the health and safety of the residents and keeping what they perceive as the values of the city.
Provo resident Jessica Hall said it was an opportunity to teach how to use alcohol responsibly.
Former councilwoman Cindy Richards called the council to task and reminded them they are to look at the amendment to further the general health, safety and welfare of Provo. She is not in favor of brew pubs in the city.
Councilman Shipley said many have overlooked the fact that the staff put together good research. He was also concerned about consistency.
“I don’t like hypocrisy. We need to be consistent. Do we feel the same about soda and cookies that cause obesity and affects the health and welfare of the city? Are we consistent?” Shipley asked. “We must apply consistent standards on what we allow in Provo.”
In order to glean more information from residents, the municipal council asked that a general, unscientific survey be placed on the Open City Hall website. The response was overwhelming.
The survey was conducted from Jan. 30, 2020 until Feb. 11, 2020. A total of 1,342 survey responses were submitted. Of those, 546 were from registered users of Open City Hall and 769 responses were from participants not registered or signed in, according to John Magness, the council’s policy analyst.
There are some who were very much against the amendment including 10 former council members. They are David Acheson, Don Butler, Calli Hales, Stan Lockhart, Cindy Richards, Kim Santiago, George Stewart, Kay Van Buren and Paul Warner.
“Brewpubs will not be a major economic development initiative, but they would bring in some tax revenue, boost tourism in the downtown and shopping areas, and boost the appeal of the convention center and thus increase the number of people who visit downtown and the SC3 zone,” Magness said.
According to a council staff report, Magness said the brewpub prices and policies would likely prevent excessive alcohol consumption, greatly reducing the risk of negative economic impacts to Provo.
The majority of registered Open City Hall survey respondents who reported that public safety was very important to them also reported that they were very supportive of brewpubs (77%), according to the survey.
About half of respondents (51%) thought brewpubs would have no effect on public safety.
The survey added that police in four cities, including Provo, have said they have no concerns about brewpubs having a negative effect on public safety.
Limited research, according to the survey conclusion, suggests that brewpubs increase incidents of drunk driving but DUI citation numbers before and after brewpubs opened in Springville and Lehi show that DUIs did not increase due to the brewpubs.
“Provo city code has robust requirements for beer licenses. If the council would like to introduce additional licensing requirements for brewpubs, they could direct staff to do so either by amending the Class “B” beer license or drafting a new Class “F” license specifically for brewpubs,” Magness said.
“It should be remembered that licensing requirements must be applied fairly to all locations that serve alcohol unless the city has an articulable, rational reason why they should apply only to brewpubs,” Magness said the survey showed.