How much parking is enough?
The Cody Planning and Zoning Commission last week tabled discussions on a new brewery business that seeks to open with fewer parking spaces than required by the city.
The members could take the item off the table to discuss it again at the Tuesday meeting after asking the owners of Cody Craft Brewing to further examine the possibility of getting permission to allow customers to park in the nearby Pinnacle Bank lot.
Owners Brian and Jen Walker moved to Cody from Fort Collins, Colo., and are working to open a brewery on East Sheridan in the building formerly home to the Cody Escape Room.
The site includes 22 parking spaces, fewer than required as per city code for a business 99 seats.
While that planning would only mean a reduction in spaces needed from the standard 33 required (one space per three occupants), Planning and zoning director Todd Stowell said based on the layout of the building and plan for seating, the brewery could easily add a number of tables and chairs to the current design and thus the indicated seating capacity should be considered 171.
Stowell did say he’d be willing to consider the six parking spaces on the street in front of the business as part of the total and he said a reasonable variance to the total spaces allowed could work, but it would still leave the owners far short of the requirement.
“Any time chairs are moveable, it’s easy to add more, so capacity goes up,” he said. “It’s why we’re not signing off on 99.”
He recommended to the P&Z members that the applicant and their architect, Kane Morris of Point Architects, go back to Pinnacle Bank to try and get approval to use some of the dozens of spaces in the Pinnacle lot. Morris had said when they asked the first time bank management denied the request as they were worried about liability issues.
He also objected to the raise in the occupancy number, as he said the owners are planning for no more than 99 customers in their initial planning due to staffing plans, and that if they wanted to expand they could come back.
On Monday, Brian Walker said after the meeting they did go back to the bank and were once again denied.
Stowell said at the P&Z meeting if that were to happen then they could work on an alternate solution. He said Tuesday night he had spoken with the Walker’s attorney about the matter.
Walker said the issue has delayed opening plans from the spring into the summer.
P&Z members unanimously approved the tabling after listening to Stowell, Morris, Walker and Leonard Moore, the owner Pat O’Hara’s and a building opposite the brewery on Beck Avenue. He said while he hoped they succeeded, he was worried about the increased traffic.
Stowell said while businesses on the same side of the street as the brewery were fine with the variance to the parking arrangement – even Pinnacle – the hotel owners across the street were opposed. That included the Blair properties and by Western Rose Motel, who opposed in writing.
Walker said having three hotels across the street would mean less drive-up traffic as some people from the hotels would likely walk over, and Morris objected to the idea that people couldn’t be expected to walk further.
Stowell said if the business owners are intending on more pedestrian traffic via downtown and the hotels there needs to be pedestrian facilities along their section to accommodate that.
The downtown area includes an exemption for businesses that accounts for downtown street and other public parking, but that zone ends on 15th Street.
“This brings up a real conflict with expanded need for parking where there doesn’t seem to be any,” P&Z chair Richard Jones said. “That’s the pickle we’re in right now. Success is a problem. We have other property owners in the area that have shared concerns. I think solution is working with Pinnacle Bank to do whatever it takes.”
(Leo Wolfson contributed to this report)