County Commission considers beer and wine tours, other zoning changes | Local News

In a series of public hearings, Franklin County commissioners discussed including brewery and winery tours in the county’s zoning code.

They also looked at temporary storage rules in the unincorporated county.

The commissioners acted on the recommendations of the county planning and zoning commission. Final decisions are expected in several weeks.

No one from the public spoke about any of the county’s proposals during the hearings.

Educational use for profit

The county is considering adding an “educational for profit” land use classification. County Planning Director Scottie Eagan said it involves using buildings or land for group programs such as exercise classes, wine education and arts instruction.

Businesses designated “for-profit educational use” would fall under multiple zoning designations, including “W,” which covers churches, convenience stores and parks — and “B”, which includes large mixed-use facilities such as housing estates, hospitals and hotels.

The changes would add visits to wineries, breweries and distilleries as an incidental use, Eagan said. “We’re getting more and more calls from these little microbreweries and wineries that we have around the county wanting to do tours, and we’ve never had a classification for that,” she said. “So we added that.”

Animal training

While the county’s planning commission unanimously recommended the measure, it questioned why the “for-profit educational use” change didn’t specify animal training classes, Eagan said.

Second District Commissioner Dave Hinson asked if there was a specific classification for Purina Farms, which conducts pet training near Gray Summit.

Eagan said Purina Farms was categorized as “service sales,” which is only allowed in more commercial districts.

Commissioner President Tim Brinker said he saw no need to change the new policy. “Because usually if you have an animal upbringing, whether it’s obedience or training, that lends itself to boarding/kennel type things,” he said. “If someone is going to train/keep the dog or the cat or any animal, people are going to bring those animals in to train and leave the animal.”

Temporary mobile storage

The Planning and Zoning Department, which works with the Planning and Zoning Commission, is also proposing changes to temporary mobile storage. The changes would allow temporary mobile storage for up to a year in railcars, freight containers and semi-trailers if someone has a valid building permit.

The county currently does not have a policy on temporary storage, Eagan said.

The proposal would allow one container per plot.

Hinson said he knows of at least six farms in the county that store hay and straw in tractor-trailers.

“You like to store it above ground,” he said. “They’ve probably been sitting there for over 20 years. What are you doing about it?”

Eagan said those trailers are technically already in violation, but because code enforcement is complaint-driven, officials won’t be aware of a potential issue until it’s reported.

The county’s current plan calls for all existing temporary storage structures to be given a year before they are in violation again, Eagan said.

Brinker suggested creating an exception for agricultural uses.

Eagan said most mobile storage complaints the county receives are for smaller lots in dense areas, while Hinson said farms are 100 acres or more.

“One way or another we have to be able to solve this problem,” he said.

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