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Originally published: 2013-05-08 11:42:32
Last modified: 2013-05-08 11:42:30

Brewery seeks OK on outdoor bar, food truck

by Anna Oakes

Appalachian Mountain Brewery appeared before the Boone Planning Commission and Town Council Monday to request a permit modification sanctioning service by food trucks and an outdoor bar overlooking Boone Creek.

The business, which opened on Boone Creek Drive in February, received a conditional district zoning map amendment from the town in December 2011. The site-specific plan submitted with the application did not include an outdoor observation bar or seek approval for independent food trucks to service the lot, however, which prompted the modification request.

The observation bar is located beyond the brewery's rear parking lot and is partially constructed from fence posts left after a chain link fence was removed. The posts support a 2-by-12-inch slab that serves as a bar for resting drinks.

Boone planning staff "determined that the 'outdoor observation area' creates an encroachment in the floodway, which much comply with Section 303(f)," according to the staff report for the request.

Under Section 303(f) of Boone's Unified Development Ordinance, no improvements or construction may enter the floodway unless it can be demonstrated that the encroachment will not increase flood levels.

Sean Spiegelman, representing the brewery and AMB Holding Co., noted that the brewery re-established a 35-foot buffer for Boone and Hodges Creek -- exceeding the 25-foot buffer required by the town of Boone. He said the posts "maybe took on an inch of water" during the Jan. 30 flooding in Boone.

"We don't feel that that 2-by-12 sitting on existing fence posts increases the potential for a flood," Spiegelman said.

Planning director Bill Bailey said a survey could provide evidence needed to demonstrate the bar is above the base flood elevation.

Spiegelman also said he did not see problems related to traffic flow or parking as a result of having a food truck serve the site.

Planning Commissioner Jeff Templeton asked questions about the brewery's seating capacity and parking arrangements. The brewery has verbal agreements with adjacent businesses permitting use of their lots for overflow parking.

"Eighty seats aren't going to be enough if you turn this into a restaurant," Templeton commented.

But Spiegelman said he felt confident in his parking arrangements, noting the adjacent property owners were present at the hearing to speak if needed.

"I don't feel like this is a restaurant we've added to the brewery; it's totally independent of what we're doing," he said. "We need to support this type of business in this town."

The council and commission also heard a request from Boone Hospitality Associates to light the sign on the Courtyard by Marriott building. Wintergreen Lane resident Lynn White said she felt the lighting would affect her neighborhood and asked if a shield could be installed to block the light on that side of the building.

Monday's meeting was a public hearing only; the commission and council will consider the requests at meetings later this month.