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Downtown brewery could be in Walsenburg’s future

by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG — Someday in the future a downtown resident of Walsenburg could leave their building code and fire safety approved second floor apartment, take a stroll to a brew pub and order a locally produced Dodgeton Creek beer.
The Walsenburg City Council Tuesday night approved Ordinance 1033, that would allow brew pubs in community commercial districts by conditional use. In another unanimous 8-0 vote, council approved Ordinance 1034, that amends the zoning regulations to allow residential units on the second and above second floors as conditional use in (C-2) community commercial districts. Council members also voted 8-0 to approve resolution 2013-R 09, that inserts the word ‘fire’ into the code enforcement section of the job description of the building planning/zoning officer.
Only one member of council was absent from the meeting, Ward 2 representative Cathy Pineda. She was out of town and an attempt to have her attend via telephone was unsuccessful as her cell connection failed.
Council also voted 8-0 to approve Ordinance 1035 that adopts the 2010 version of the Model Traffic Code for Colorado and will replace the 2003 code the city adopted in the past.
All three of the ordinances were presented in first reading. Council also approved Ordinances 1029, 1030 and 1031 on second reading. Ordinance 1029 will ask voters in November if the offices of city clerk and city treasurer should be made appointive, not elected. Ordinance 1030 will ask voters this election whether or not to eliminate term limits on the office of city clerk and Ordinance 1031 will ask voters whether or not to eliminate term limits on the city treasurer’s office.
In other business council members heard a brief presentation by Michael Howard, President of Dodgeton Creek Brewing Co., concerning his potential plan to open an initially small brewery, with a tap room, brand merchandise retail space and offering tours in a downtown Walsenburg location. Howard said his plans call for a three-barrel brewing facility that would, for the first year of operation, produce approximately 300 barrels of beer that would be sold at retail at the location and at various liquor outlets. His plans include expansion by third year operations to the degree that a second facility could be opened in the city. This plan will need council action in the future in the area of conditional use by zone.
Howard said he liked the building his company was considering on E Sixth St., and hopes he could pull in tourist trade from both I-25 and especially Hwy. 160.
This addition to the downtown could benefit other businesses with increased tourist traffic.
The craft microbrewery project’s vision is, “is to grow to become a part of the Huerfano County community by providing job opportunities, using local goods and services, and becoming a mark of distinction for the area,” Howard says in an Executive Summary.
The company’s mission statement is, “Crafting great beer for great neighbors”.
Other anticipated future action by the city council was discussed both in the Monday night committee sessions and during the council meeting Tuesday night. Items expected to be before city council in the near future include a possible adjustment in price per-1,000 gallon for residential water haul and construction water haul rates and zoning considerations regarding the brewery issue.
In other business the city council Tuesday night unanimously approved the Spanish Peaks Community Foundation’s special events (liquor) permit for the Legends Gala set for Saturday, September 7.
Prior to the regular meeting, city council held a public hearing regarding the special events permit and no one appeared to offer testimony.