As a part of ongoing plans to develop downtown into a thriving entertainment district, the Denison City Council approved a change to city ordinances that will allow for brew pubs and micro breweries in downtown Denison. The Council split 4-2 in favor. The amendment will also allow the operation of distilleries and breweries in certain districts without the need of a special use permit.

As a part of ongoing plans to develop downtown into a thriving entertainment district, the Denison City Council approved a change to city ordinances that will allow for brew pubs and micro breweries in downtown Denison. The Council split 4-2 in favor. The amendment will also allow the operation of distilleries and breweries in certain districts without the need of a special use permit.


City Manager Robert Hanna, who proposed the idea, said it will "cut the red tape" for businesses who are looking to make the move to Denison. "This will help create venues that attract people," said Hanna. "This is an opportunity for growth."


With the ordinance change, brew pubs are allowed in the Central Area and light and heavy industrial districts by right. With a special use permit, they can also be allowed in commercial, business park and local, community and regional retail districts.


Likewise, breweries will be allowed by right in light and heavy industrial districts, and in commercial, central area and business park districts with conditional use permits.


When brought up to public comment, Todd Catteau, a 20-year resident of Denison spoke against the measure. Catteau said he is concerned with the recent interest the city has shown in brewing and distilling and said he fells it goes against the pro-family emphasis the city has been promoting.


"Once we overturn this ordinance, will we ever be able to turn back," said Catteau. "What is the price of progress? When will we say no?"


Under the amended ordinance, brew pubs and micro breweries are defined as "a restaurant or other facility that manufactures alcoholic beverages including but not limited to beer, wine or liquor for either on premises or off-premise retail and wholesale and consumption in quantities not considered industrial or large scale production as determined by the director of planning and zoning or designee."


A brewery distillery is defined as a premises where production of beer, wine and liquor is at industrial or large-scale quantities for commercial distribution.


Council member Janet Gott asked Hanna if this move was in response to any business seeking to move in. Hanna responded that, it is a broader measure meant to help economic development, rather than for one single business.


When the measure went to vote, it passed in a vote of 4-2, with councilors Ken Brawley and Gott dissenting.


"I think it paints downtown with too broad of a brush," said Gott, who said she felt it would be best to regard each business with special use permits on a case-by-case basis.


"It is a family environment, and I am not sure it adds any value on Main Street," said Brawley.


For his part, Hanna said this is simply a "continuation of the discussion" of Main Street as an entertainment district, which started in 2012. "I envision an environment where families can have a dinner, catch a movie and listen to some live music," he said.