SAFETY HARBOR — The City Commission amended the city code on Monday to open the door to brewpubs, microbreweries, microdistilleries and regional breweries, facilities that have exploded in popularity in the Tampa Bay area.
The amendment also allows breweries and distilleries to open adjacent taprooms where they can serve their beverages.
Community Development Director Matt McLachlan said the city began work on the brewery amendment in January after he spoke with a party interested in brewing in Safety Harbor.
"Then word got around — it's a pretty tight-knit community — and others expressed interest as well," McLachlan said.
Kip Kelly, owner of Trycom Components in Safety Harbor, was interested. He and his partner are purchasing Sanders Paint and Body Shop on 10th Avenue S to house their brewery, which they will call Healing Waters Brewing Company.
"If you look at the craft beer trend in Pinellas County, there's a void in Safety Harbor, and this ordinance allows those interested to fill that gap," McLachlan said.
The commission also passed on first reading an amendment allowing hotels within the restricted commercial districts along McMullen-Booth Road at the intersections of Enterprise Road and State Road 590.
City Manager Matt Spoor said the amendment was initiated after the owners of Oakbrook Commons, located on the southwest corner of the intersection of McMullen-Booth and Enterprise, approached the city about including hotels as an acceptable land use within the commercial node.
"They feel like that's the use they may be able to find a tenant for," Spoor said. "Our market study has shown that we are deficient in this area."
A hotel in that location would not be a destination hotel or resort, Spoor said, but rather a hotel for people in the area on business.
The amendment establishes a minimum lot size of 60,000 square feet and also mandates that rooms open to the interior of the building, essentially eliminating the possibility of motels.
Spoor said the amendment would not impact the future of the Firmenich Citrus Center Property on S.R. 590 near McMullen-Booth Road.
The second reading of the amendment is scheduled for the commission's April 7 meeting.
Monday was the last meeting for Mayor Joe Ayoub and Commissioner Nina Bandoni. On March 11, Ayoub lost his re-election bid to former Mayor Andy Steingold. Bandoni chose not to seek re-election. Former Commissioner Nancy Besore, who resigned her seat to run for mayor but was not elected, was in the audience Monday night.
At the beginning of the meeting, the commission honored Besore for her service, awarding her a plaque with a key to the city and a large green street sign with her name on it.
"Even though we don't agree on everything, there's a lot I admire about you," Ayoub said to Besore. "I admire your high level of integrity you've always shown."
Besore joked that maybe she would run for mayor again the next time there is a judge seat available — a crack at Steingold, who resigned as mayor in 2012 to run for circuit judge but was not elected.
The commission closed the meeting by honoring Bandoni and Ayoub for their service. Each also received a key to the city and a street sign bearing their names.
In his last act as mayor, Ayoub thanked the city employees and the volunteers who worked on his campaign, and he congratulated Steingold and Commissioners-elect Andy Zodrow and Carlos Diaz, who will be sworn in April 7.
Josh Solomon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, (727) 445-4155 or on Twitter @jsolomontimes.