On Thursday night the Forney Planning & Zoning Commission voted their approval of a new zoning ordinance that defines, regulates and provides for the operation of a microbrewery in downtown Forney.
Community Development Director Peter Morgan addressed the Commission regarding the difference between a Brewers Permit and a Brewpub Permit, which led to a lengthy discussion on Forney’s alcohol regulations.
Director Morgan said “The City of Forney currently does not have regulations that pertain to the brewing of beer. The City does require any person who does sell beer to first have a city and a TABC permit. TABC does have two permit options; the brewers permit or the brewpub permit.”
Explaining he said “A brewers permit is a manufacturing permit which authorizes the owner to manufacture beer, ale or malt liquor and sell only to wholesale permit holders in Texas or to qualified persons outside the state. For the brewery permit, staff hasn’t had a lot of discussion with people who wanted to do this use. Again this is more of a manufacturing type use and there are also a whole lot more legal questions connected to this because the city has food requirements that we are about to go over. And so we are not going to focus on the brewers permit tonight but we are going to focus on the brewpub permit.”
Director Morgan stated “A brewpub permit is a retail permit that allows the permit owner to manufacture beer, ale or malt liquor primary for on-premises consumption. Total production cannot exceed 10,000 barrels per year, and then there are a number of summary items for Brewpubs.”
Detailing the requested ordinance, Director Morgan said “Number two brewpubs can make beer to sell on and off site. So on site consumption is allowed. Number two, brewpubs can sell to other brewpubs from here to a different location. Number three, brewpubs are limited to 10,000 barrels a year in production. Number 4, brewpubs can self-distribute to stores and bars.”
Director Morgan said “TABC does not require food to be served at their location but that’s actually a local regulation not a state requirement. In Forney a business may serve alcohol with a food and beverage permit or a private club permit. Those are the two ways you can sell alcohol in Forney so if we’re were to allow brewpubs they would have to also hold one of those two permits. The only way around that would be to hold an election that would essentially remove the requirement for food sales.”
Before taking questions from the P&Z Commissioners, Director Morgan explained “This does have a list of brewpub zoning districts. Right now the zones we propose are Neighborhood Services, General Retail and our Central Business District, which is our downtown area but it would require a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and then Commercial and Industrial Use zones.”
After a lengthy discussion to P&Z Commissioners voted to pass to ordinance as requested, and it is expected to go before the City Council for final approval at their next meeting.
Interestingly, Forney Council Member Shaun Myers, a self-professed beer connoisseur, attended this meeting and although he did not publicly address the Commission, he appeared to be very supportive of the passage of this ordinance.