By Jim Shilander
The San Clemente Planning Commission approved, on a conceptual basis, a microbrewery that would serve its own craft beers Wednesday, though it did not approve the specific plan for the brewery.
The city’s current zoning ordinances, and the current draft of the new General Plan, do not address microbreweries specifically, Associate Planner Amber Gregg told the body. While there are other microbreweries located with in the city, they are mostly located in business parks (with the exception of Pizza Port), and do not serve beer on-site. The applicant, Tom Cordato, proposed to sell beer on-site at location at 1640 North El Camino Real, near North Beach.
Gregg said the applicants were not preparing to serve food at any point and were not bottling on-site. Gregg said the proposed business sat between the current definitions for a bar and for a restaurant, and did not totally fit the definition of either. Gregg noted that the applicant must still apply for a conditional use permit, which must be approved by the planning commission separately.
Commission member Barton Crandell said the proposal was somewhat similar to wine tasting rooms in town, though with the important distinction that the brewery would also be manufacturing the product. Crandell told the other commissioners that it might be worth including a provision in future zoning regulations for similar establishments.
“This might be something good to have as a separate use,” Crandell said.
Cardato said the business is looking to expand a growing microbrewery movement in San Diego to Orange County. The business is planning to serve a rotating number of craft beers, as well as seasonal and experimental brews.