5301 Winthrop Ave. (Petition #2012-CZN-827 and Petition #2012-CVR-827) / Winthrop Partners, LLC dba Bent Rail Brewery and Coffee House
Rezoning of 1.41 acres from the I-4U (W-5) district to the C-S (W-5) classification to provide for I-4 uses, C-3 uses, a microbrewery with accessory grain silo, with a restaurant, tavern, outdoor stage, outdoor seating and entertainment.
Variance of development standards to provide for outdoor seating (not permitted), to legally establish parking and maneuvering within the right-of-way of Winthrop Ave. (not permitted), and to provide for an outdoor stage and railcar with a zero-foot north side setback (10 ft. side setback required).
Bent Rail Brewery and Coffee House owners, Derek Means (who owns & manages "The Local Pub and Eatery" in Carmel) and Craig Baker (co-owned and worked as a brewer for McMenamins in Portland, OR) will have a strong environmental commitment by locally sourcing products and growing on site their lettuce, herbs as well as maintaining an aquaponic farm raising fish. They intend to work with public schools to demonstrate farming techniques. The menu will emphasize rustic dishes, wood-fired pizzas and European charcuterie and they plan to operate an eco-friendly and family-friendly establishment.
The site is approx. 1.41 acres and presently contains a 27,000 sf block building consisting of 3 sections and a second block building that is 3,360 sf. The entire site is presently zoned I-4U (heavy industrial) and has been vacant for several years and fallen into a severe state of disrepair. It was previously occupied as a fitness center and prior to that a commercial dry cleaner.
The site plan shows that the north section (approx. 8,000 sf) and the east section (approx. 7,100 sf) will be demolished to allow for additional off-street parking. The remaining portion of the primary building will be approx. 12,010 sf. The brewing operation will be located on the north end with adjacent lounge area and seating for 100. The kitchen/food prep area is on an angle and subdivides the family dining area to the south, which will allow for 250 seats for a total occupancy of 350 seats indoors. In the front of the building will be coffee service/bakery. To the east along the Monon in an area of almost a half acre is an outdoor beer garden and gaming courts. The smaller building on the SE corner will be used for a concession area, storage, restrooms and a secured bicycle garage that will accommodate 100 bicycles. There will be access via the Monon through the bicycle garage providing for ample bike parking. The existing primary entrance along Winthrop will remain.
The site plan calls for 53 off-street parking places with the existing perpendicular parking in front of the building to remain. The land use committee suggested removing that parking and replacing it with green space and continuous sidewalk along Winthrop and to allow for parallel street parking. This will reduce about 8 spaces, but the property owners and the City agree that it will address maneuverability and provide a safer pedestrian walkway. The owners have also negotiated for a cross-parking agreement so that Bent Rail may use the DeveloperTown parking area (80 spaces) and vice-versa. Total parking without including on-street parking provided by Bent Rail is 133 spaces. Bent Rail anticipates having 32 employees working during its largest shift with 21 employees during a normal shift.
The stage area will be oriented south or southeast with sound absorption measures (sound absorbing walls, trees and more but smaller speakers, no woofers). A sound engineer is consulting with the owners on sound reduction measures. The owners are confident that the sound will not negatively affect the residential area west of the building and is presently working with the City on a covenant to that regard measuring an acceptable decibel level.
Following are the most recent commitments agreed to by the developer and brewery operator:
1. Uses. The list of accepted uses has been changed from I-4 to I-2 (although there are no present plans, a spirits distillery has been added as a use which is the one I-3 use requested) and C-3 uses (with the exception of the uses that are objectionable: automobile oil change or lubrication shop, check cashing or validation service, emergency shelter, gasoline service station, outdoor advertising signs, and tattoo parlor).
2. Hours of Operation: 7 am – 12: 30 am Mon-Thurs., 7 am – 2:00 am Fri-Sat., 7:00 am – 10 pm Sun. The outdoor area will not be open any later than 12:00 a.m. The City of Indianapolis Noise Ordinance prohibits noise (from outdoor music or other sources) past 11 pm.
3. The outdoor beer garden area will be used for special events, lawn chair movie nights for families and private /corporate events. The site plan calls for permanent seating for no more than 150 and, except for concerts or special events, normal standing room in the beer garden area is anticipated to be a maximum of 550 for a total capacity of 700, although the petitioner does not anticipate normal usage of the beer garden will come anywhere close to capacity. The owners will limit TOTAL capacity (indoors and out) to 800 and to 1,500 for the limited number of special events.
4. Special Events. A limit of 15 “pre-ticketed events” annually. These events would be promoted and pre-ticketed by a third party. The land use committee recommends these events be limited to 6 during 2013 and increased to 15 thereafter.
Based on the majority of very positive feedback from neighbors attending the land use meeting, local ownership and management, and the owners’ desire to monitor and limit sound by installing sound-deadening measures and ample off-street parking, the land use committee recommends approval subject to acceptable covenants outlined above. The MKNA Board of Directors upheld the land use committee’s recommendation at its Nov. 8 board meeting. The rezoning for this hearing was originally scheduled on November 15 at 1:00 pm in the Public Assembly Room of the City-County building. An automatic continuance was filed, thus moving the hearing date to Dec. 13 at 1:00 pm in the Public Assembly Room of the City County building.