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South Boston makes plans to allow brewpubs, microdistilleries / March 29, 2018
South Boston is one step closer to having its own neighborhood microbrewery pub. On Monday, South Boston Council voted unanimously begin the process of amending the town code to add microbreweries, distilleries, and micro-wineries as permitted uses in B-2, B-3 and B-4 commercial zones.

South Boston Town Manager Tom Raab said he received several phone calls from individuals interested in opening a pub that would serve craft beers and food.

Under state code, a brewery/pub may not produce more than 15,000 barrels a year as a retail business. More than that is considered manufacturing, which involves a different set of rules.

Retail wineries have similar restrictions. A winery/pub in the B-2, B-3 or B-4 zoning districts may not produce more than 5,000 gallons in one year to maintain retail status.

The state code does not include limitations for distilleries.

Council voted at the Monday meeting to forward to the Planning Commission a resolution to amend the town code. Planners will start the amendment process with a public hearing on April 4 and a second public hearing before Council on April 9.

In other business:

By unanimous vote, Council approved the transfer of $234,416 from the 2017/18 Capital Depreciation Fund to purchase a new street sweeper, and $35,000 to purchase a Ford Explorer for use as an administrative vehicle. Raab reported $680,000 of unused funds in the Capital Account.

Council unanimously agreed to contribute a total of $15,000 from contingency funds to the Vision 20/20 Plan update, with $7,500 to be paid in 2017-18 and $7,500 to be paid in 2018-19. Vision 20/20 is a study being developed by a consultant to guide future development in South Boston and Halifax County.

Council agreed to submit the following top South Boston projects to the Southside Planning District Commission by March 31 as part of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy:

Development of John Randolph Hotel Project

Hamilton Boulevard Road Improvement Project

Development – Tobacco Heritage and Dan River trails

Miller Homes Housing project for low or moderate income buyers, veterans, and first time home buyers

Riverfront development — landscaping for boat ramp

Joint recreation plan with Halifax County to develop a sports complex

North Main Street Improvements widening and sidewalks

Downtown – two-way traffic.

In addition to a lively discussion about the need or the feasibility of two-way traffic in downtown South Boston, Councilman Michael C. Byrd reported that he received calls from several small contractors wanting to know how they could participate in the bidding process for town projects.

Mayor Ed Owens initially thought that all bids would be advertised, but a check of the town code did not provide for advertising bids. Owens suggested that perhaps the code should be changed to require advertising so that all businesses that want to submit bids can do so.

Raab said he would put something together for Council to review at the next meeting.

In other business, Council voted unanimously to fund a $500 contribution from the contingency fund to support the Ward Burton Wildlife Bird Adopt-A-Box Nesting Program. Burton did not request a contribution, but Council agreed that it was an appropriate gesture to recognize Burton’s generosity and contributions to the community.

Council also approved a request to co-sponsor the Second Annual Strawberry Festival along with a $500 contribution to the Southern Virginia Botanical Gardens (Fiscal agent for Healthy Harvest Community Garden).

A resolution approving the 2018, four-year Emergency Operations Plan received unanimous approval.

Work Session

Following the regular meeting, Council members held their regular monthly work session beginning at 7 pm.

Current Issues Committee chairman, Bob Hughes reported that two zoning code amendments would be discussed at a town Planning Commission public hearing on April 4. The first is the proposed zoning code amendment to allow distilleries, microbreweries, and micro-wineries in business districts B-2, B-3 and B-4.

The second is a request by Howard B. Powell Sr. to rezone PRN 2910, 1129 Nortyh Main Street from B-1, neighborhood commercial district, to BR-4, high density residential district. The building was previously used as a medical clinic, and Powell wants to turn it into up to 15 one- and two- bedroom market-rate apartments.

Raab provided Owens a 2018 committee sign up form from the Virginia Municipal League. Interested Council members should add their name to the form, which Owens will sign and submit.

Vice-mayor Coleman Speece suggested that Councilman Byrd might fill the remainder of the late councilman Billy Clarke’s term on the Southside Planning District Commission. Byrd agreed to attend the monthly meetings in South Hill.

In other business Monday, Raab provided Council members with a copy of the first draft of the 2018-19 proposed budget.

The proposed 2018-19 budget does not include any tax increases, and totals $10,561,379, $192,810 less than the 2017-18 budget.

A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for the next regular council meeting on April 9. At the April 30 work session, the Finance Committee will consider any requests made at the public hearing, or changes suggested from council members.

At the regular council meeting on May 14, the 2018-19 proposed budget will be presented to Council for adoption on first reading.

Not present at the Monday evening meetings was Councilwoman Tina Wyatt-Younger. The next regular meeting will be held on April 9 at 7 p.m. in Council chambers at 502 Yancey Street. The South Boston Planning Commission will meet on April 4 at 6 p.m. in South Boston Council chambers.

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