Ban on bars on industrial land blocked

A proposed ban on bars and night clubs in parts of Grand Junction zoned for light industrial use this week failed before the City Council.

Grand Junction Planning Commissioners have been tossing around the idea for a year, according to City Planning Manager Lisa Cox. In March, commissioners decided to recommend the ban to council members, who took up the issue Monday during the adoption of a revised zoning and development code.

Planning Commissioner Mark Abbott said during the public comment portion of Monday’s meeting he supported the commission’s idea to boot bars and night clubs from light industrial land. He wanted council members to take the proposal one step further, though, by keeping bars and night clubs out of all industrial land. Councilwoman Bonnie Beckstein proposed an amendment to the new zoning and development code that followed Abbott’s suggestion.

“I just don’t think bars are a good fit in invaluable, limited industrial areas,” Beckstein said.

The amendment failed 5-2 in a council vote Monday night, with Beckstein and Councilman Bill Pitts providing the yes votes.

Abbott said he worried an industrial worker may cross the street for a beer and return to work drunk, causing injury to the worker or others.

Kevin Eardley, owner of Fantasy gentlemen’s club, set to open late next month at 2258 Colex Drive, said he’s not concerned about that possibility because his establishment will open after surrounding industrial shops close. Eardley is one of the few owners of a nightclub settled on light industrial land in Grand Junction, but he said he can’t think of a better location for Fantasy because it’s far from most businesses and meets the extensive distance requirements for gentlemen’s clubs.

“It took quite a while for me to find a property that met all the requirements,” Eardley said.

Lack of space for clubs and bars left Mayor Bruce Hill wondering if the city could legally block bars from industrial land because it may leave places with distance requirements, especially the extensive ones for gentlemen’s clubs, with no place else to go. Councilwoman Teresa Coons said she’d rather leave land uses up to property owners. If a bar or club proposed for industrial land raises a red flag, the city will be able to deny the establishment a conditional-use permit, she said.

City Public Works and Planning Director Tim Moore said there haven’t been any recent applications for new bars or nightclubs in industrially-zoned land, although there have been some requests for remodeling approval. Bars and clubs are allowed in business, commercial and industrial zoning.

The council voted unanimously to adopt the revised zoning and development code, sans the ban on bars and clubs in industrial areas. Revisions cut 100 pages from the code and made other changes to streamline the development process and help encourage growth in line with the city’s new comprehensive plan, Moore said.

Among the code changes are:

Height maximums for buildings, especially those downtown, were increased.

Administrative decision-making power for Moore, including the ability to approve subdivision plans without a public meeting, was increased.

The threshold was raised for how much change or remodeling is allowed before a property owner must bring the property entirely up to code.

Landscaping requirements for select industrial and business districts were reduced.

Requirements for parking in densely-developed areas were lessened.

Approval is encouraged for development that would help create the village and neighborhood centers designated in the comprehensive plan.


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