Smyrna Town Council unanimously approved an ordinance to amend zoning in the Central Commercial District Monday night at their council meeting.
The vote was 6-0, with Councilman Anthony DeFeo not at the meeting to vote.
The amendment allows for craft distillery and microbrewery establishments as permitted uses in the Central Commercial District. The amendment was previously approved by Planning & Zoning Review on Nov. 28. A public hearing was held prior to Monday's council meeting.
The ordinance was passed with a friendly amendment regarding the number of authorized special events per year. The ordinance had previously stated four special events were allowed per year, but some council members felt it would be unfair to limit a distillery to four special events per year.
Councilwoman Valerie White questioned limiting a distillery to four events per year: "Are other businesses in town also limited to four special events per year?"
Town lawyer Terry Jaywork said no, this rule was limited to breweries.
Councilwoman Regina Brown then pointed to a comment made by Police Chief Wil Bordley during the public hearing that he liked the idea of limiting the special events to four. Bordley said he didn't want to risk having special events every week and then having to deal with road closures or providing security.
During the discussion, Ron Gomes - one of the owners of start-up business Legacy Distilling - was asked to come up and answer some questions. Gomes, along with his partner Mike Rasmussen, are in the process of bringing a craft distillery to Smyrna.
Gomes asked the council to define what a special event would be as they hope to hold fundraisers and other possible events at their business. Council suggested an anniversary party would be an example.
As discussions continued, a friendly amendment was suggested to delete the number of special events but it was noted a special event would need to authorized by council.
The friendly amendment was approved 6-0 as was the ordinance.
After the meeting, Gomes said he feels great the zoning amendment passed.
"It's an important step for the town," Gomes said. "We can't close at the bank without it, it's a necessary component."
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.