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SLO Brew’s ‘nightclub’ near airport approved for second time

SLO Brewing Co. co-owner Rodney Cegelski gave a site tour in February of The Rock, a new brewing production facility and taproom near the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport. On Tuesday, the City Council approved SLO Brew’s request for a permit to have live entertainment at the site.
SLO Brewing Co. co-owner Rodney Cegelski gave a site tour in February of The Rock, a new brewing production facility and taproom near the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport. On Tuesday, the City Council approved SLO Brew’s request for a permit to have live entertainment at the site. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

After hitting the metaphorical reset button, the San Luis Obispo City Council again approved SLO Brewing Co.’s request for a “nightclub” use permit at its new facility near the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.

On Tuesday, the council voted 4-1, with Councilman John Ashbaugh again dissenting, to approve a use permit for a “nightclub” at The Rock, SLO Brew’s new brewery and taproom at 855 Aerovista Place.

The council voted the same way April 19, making a zoning change to permit a nightclub use permit within a business park area. The council was required to hold another hearing because city officials failed to notify nearby residents of the April 19 meeting ahead of time, calling it an administrative error. By law, the city is required to notify residents within a minimum of 300 feet of the project boundaries.

We apologize to the public and all involved for this lack of notification.

Jan Marx, San Luis Obispo mayor

“We apologize to the public and all involved for this lack of notification,” Mayor Jan Marx said.

About a dozen people spoke in public comment Tuesday with mixed criticism and support for live entertainment at the new production facility, which will expand SLO Brew’s brewing and bottling capacity.

Opponents cited noise, parking and traffic concerns, as well as the potential for inebriated drivers leaving the venue and driving through the neighborhood. Those in favor said the location offers a viable venue for musical acts that will enhance the community’s quality of life.

SLO Brew co-owner Rodney Cegelski shares plans for The Rock, a new brewery production facility, tasting room and restaurant near the SLO County airport. The owners also hope to offer live music — with a concert area that could fit up to 600 people

The city approved plans to build a production facility at the site last year, and that construction is underway near Broad Street (Highway 227) in southeastern San Luis Obispo. The plans include a beer garden and taproom that will serve casual pub food and would close by 11 p.m.

With the nightclub permit, SLO Brewing Co. can hold concerts starting Friday nights after 7:30 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. The indoor capacity for those events will be limited to 600 people. Ambient music can be played in an outdoor courtyard until 9 p.m.

We’re avoiding peak traffic times.

Hamish Marshall, permit applicant

Ashbaugh supported the idea of a sunset clause that would have required a council reconsideration of the use, potentially after a few years. Ashbaugh said he believed a nightclub doesn’t fit with the city’s General Plan, and required an amendment. But the majority of the council disagreed and again approved the permit.

Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson said a sunset clause would interfere with SLO Brewing Co.’s ability to conduct business and that applicants Hamish Marshall and Rodney Cegelski had properly mitigated community concerns. Concerts would be held after peak rush hour traffic on Fridays, for example.

“The majority of the businesses in the (Aerovista business park area) clear out by 5 p.m.,” Marshall said at Tuesday’s meeting. “We’re avoiding peak traffic times.”

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