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Sturgis council approves variance for Sturgis Brewing Company

November 10, 2018

STURGIS — The Sturgis City Council has approved a variance to a lot line setback for the developers of the new Sturgis Brewing Company to be constructed in south Sturgis just off Anna Street.

The property is zoned as General Commercial and the developers say the variance is needed to meet parking, traffic and green space requirements as well as having additional room for future expansion.

That means that the new Sturgis Brewing Company building can be constructed right up to the lot line that abuts Romey Street. The council, at its meeting Oct. 15, approved a 20-year lease of Romey Street at an annual rate of $350 with Sturgis Brewing Company.

Roger Call, representing Sturgis Brewing Company, said a five-foot setback would be sufficient.

“Romey is never going to be a street. There is a sewer line right on the east side of the right of way. We are just trying to make better use of the land,” he said.

The developers have attempted to build as far west on the lot as possible, he said.

“We believed that if we were going to go ahead and lease Romey Street for 20 years, then why not have the property right up to it instead of having five feet that you are never going to use,” Call said.

With approval of the 10-foot variance, Sturgis Brewing Company can use Romey Street as an extension of their property, and will maintain and clean up the property, Sturgis City Manager Daniel Ainslie said.

Dave Smith, director of Planning & Permitting for the city of Sturgis, said staff had concerns that a building located directly on the lot line could potentially affect the city’s ability to perform future improvements to the drainage channel that lies within Romey Street right-of-way.

The city’s need for property in that area is very remote, said Ainslie.

“Sixty feet is a significant area to make whatever improvements we would need to make to the drainage,” he said. “There is currently no budget for any improvements to be made to that Romey Street area. We’re projecting 20 to 25 years in the future when something might be done.”

At the Sturgis Planning & Zoning Commission hearing on the variance, a representative for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints indicated in a letter that they disapproved of the request by the Sturgis Brewing Company saying that the use of the land for the new business violates the city’s ordinance concerning general commercial districts in town.

But before the Sturgis Brewing Company plan began moving through the city’s planning and zoning process, the city revised its General Commercial, GC-1 District ordinance concerning permitted uses.

The revised language in the ordinance removed a limitation that a business located in General Commercial District could not have more than five employees and that the manufacturing activity could not occupy more than 10 percent of the total building area.

It also changed the language in the ordinance which prohibited any fast-food or drive-in type restaurants in the General Commercial District.

Ainslie said that the primary purpose of the revisions to Title 18 of the Sturgis City Ordinances was to clarify that the planned development of an expanded Knuckle Brewing Company facility would be a permitted use in the General Commercial District. The second was to show that fast food and drive-in type eating establishments are a use that fits within the other permitted uses of the General Commercial District.

He said that in fact, such types of eating establishments are already built and operating within other GC-1 districts in town. Among those is Dominos on Main Street.

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