Andrew and Amanda Poliak on Sept. 27 received approval to rezone their property on Lee Street across from the Fayetteville City Hall to establish their Awkward Brewing microbrewery and tasting room.

Above, Fayetteville officials recently visited Roswell to get a look at downtown development offerings and the crowds those developments could draw. Pictured, from left, are Mayor Ed Johnson, Councilman Harlan Shirley, Councilman Rich Hoffman, Fire Chief and Assistant City Manager Alan Jones and Downtown Development Director Brian Wismer. And, at center, Councilwoman Kathaleen Brewer. Photo/Submitted.

Rezoning approval from residential to C-1 (downtown commercial) came on a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Rich Hoffman opposed, having cited issues such as concerns about the project having enough space and the restroom facilities.

“I picture this in Alabama, and the only thing missing is the trailer,” Hoffman said, being no stranger to plain-spoken evaluations.

The project will return to the Planning and Zoning Commission to deal with a potential buffer reduction and a special use exception for microbreweries, which the city said in 2017 was a acceptable use in the downtown area.

Andrew Poliak at a previous meeting described the facility at 240 and 250 Lee Street as an outdoor/indoor space dedicated to a family environment where patrons can socialize and sample locally-crafted beer. The location will have outdoor areas for seating, games and recreation and will feature a tasting room with the ability to make take-out purchases.

As for the proposal and its location, the city’s Future Land Use Map calls for C-1 walkable mixed-use for the Lee Street area, with the character being one that is pedestrian-oriented.

Senior Planner Julie Brown at a previous meeting explained that Lee Street is a commercial street with a residential appeal. The Lee Street area includes a host of properties, of which the significant majority are non-residential.

“The comprehensive plan calls for walkable mixed-use,” Brown said.

The Fayetteville Comprehensive Plan was adopted last year after more than 550 residents provided input on the exhaustive plan, much of which centered on the downtown area.

It was in 2017 that the council adopted targeted uses for the downtown area that included microbreweries.

One of the potential issues on Sept. 27 dealt with concerns from the Fayetteville First Baptist Church over the distance from the microbrewery to the church property.

Distance requirements for the sale of alcohol were checked, Brown said, adding that the distance measurement using the prescribed state and city standard revealed that the microbrewery would be more than 600 feet from the nearest church property. The lawful requirement is a 300-foot distance.

Another issue surfaced by the church dealt with the potential for customers to access the microbrewery property through the church parking situated adjacent to the Lee Street property. Amanda and Andrew Poliak resolved the issue saying that they would install a fence separating the two properties.

Fayetteville Mayor Ed Johnson. Photo/Ben Nelms.
Fayetteville Mayor Ed Johnson. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Mayor Ed Johnson toward the end of the discussion commended the couple for reaching out to the church on the concerns that had surfaced.

Public support for the project received some negatives but many more positive responses, including from the eight people speaking at the Sept. 27 meeting.