CITY: Steel & Oak Applies For 50 Seat Increase

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Deadline for public or business input is January 21,2018. Opinions must be in writing and sent to NW City Hall, 511 Royal Avenue, V3L 1H9 or email

Some may have noticed that Steel & Oak Brewery is applying to increase their seating capacity to 50 persons. Does this seat increase mean that they are now considered a bar or still a tasting room? During this process, which has taken over a year, residents of the Quay might have noticed the three signs posted on the S&O site and in the Record Paper announcing this expansion. However, the three signs to date all have different dates for public to have input, different closing dates and are confusing as to whether S&O is going from 20 or 30 seat to 50.

The QCB has asked Kim Deighton ; Manager of Licensing and Integrated Services for the City of New West to help clarify this confusion in the process. She has taken the time to address QCB questions regarding the signs and advertising and has provided a synopsis for the process taken by Steels & Oak. The QCB thanks her for her rapid rely to our request.

Via email from K. Deighton

In 2015 Steel and Oak received approval to operate a lounge for 20 occupants. They originally requested 50 but were capped at 20 by BC Building Code washroom requirements.

In early 2017 they added another washroom and having met the BC Building Code requirement for washrooms began the process to increase capacity from 20 to 50. They posted the site sign on Jan 23, 2017 inviting public input on 50 but the next day staff discovered a section of the Zoning Bylaw that set an upper limit of 30 for brew lounges.

The error was discovered too late to pull the first ad posted in the Record on Jan 26, 2017 but the applicant corrected the 2nd ad posted in the Feb 2, 2017 edition. The latter is correct and advises the increase is from 20 to 30.

Staff did not require the sign nor the first newspaper ad to be corrected as the error did not interfere with public process. The fact that advertising 50 might have actually invited more opposition than 30 was discussed with the applicant and they were comfortable going forward with the incorrect signage.

At the end of 2017 the applicant decided to pursue a re-zoning to increase capacity to 50 (the number they originally envisioned in 2015). They followed the same liquor application process they conducted earlier in the year except this time a rezoning application occurred concurrently.

All public comments gathered up to and including January 21, 2018 will be included in a report to Council. Council will have 2 decisions to make: whether or not to amend the Zoning Bylaw to allow 50 and whether or not to support an increase in capacity to 50.

The decision to increase capacity to 50 ultimately rests with the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch.