North 20 receives unanimous support
The Rosemount City Council opened the door for the city’s first microbrewery.
Although there are taprooms in Lakeville, Eagan and Hastings, Rosemount has been largely absent from the taproom boom in Minnesota.
It’s been nearly 10 years since the city updated its zoning standards to allow for a taproom or microbrewery.
Senior Planner Kyle Klatt said there have been a few inquiries, but nothing concrete until now.
Initial plans for North 20, a small taproom and brewery at 12296 Bacardi Ave. near the border with Eagan to be owned and operated by longtime residents, was approved during Tuesday’s meeting.
Although it had unanimous support from the City Council, it was a divisive issue among residents.
The city received dozens of letters as well as a petition from those urging the city to deny the application.
Neighbors didn’t want to lose the natural, rural feel of the neighborhood.
They were concerned about traffic and safety for walkers and bikers along the gravel road.
They believe the noise, dust and increase in activities would be detrimental to the 26-acre wildlife preserve directly to the north, which the city owns.
There were also several members of the community supportive of the project and excited about bringing a local brewery to town. They liked the setting and its economic benefits.
“The ultimate goal is that we become a hub for people to gather with their friends, neighbors and family to enjoy the scenery,” North 20 owner David Schmitz said.
The best part of the property is the view, and he wants to share it with Rosemount.
While considering neighbors’ concerns, council members showed enthusiasm for the taproom.
Members said they’ve been hearing from residents for years about the lack of this kind of businesses in town.
“It’s pretty overwhelming,” Council Member Paul Essler said. “That’s what the community wants.”
Essler said microbreweries are a risky endeavor.
“Something like this has to be special to be viable,” Essler said. “It’s got to special and unique. I don’t think it’s going to be a big brewhouse or anything. It’s going to fit into the surroundings.”
Council Member Heidi Freske said she lives in the Bacardi Avenue area and often walks and bikes on the road, and she feels the area is a hidden gem.
“Now we get to share it with residents and visitors,” Freske said. “Residents have been begging for a facility like this.”
Essler said taprooms aren’t typical bars where people binge drink and get loud. Considering the rise in ride sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, it’s easier to get a sober ride home, he said.
Council members were also excited a Rosemount resident wants to invest in the community.
The Schmitz family has owned the property for several years, but they said they couldn’t “sit on it forever as a non-income producing property.”
Due to topography issues, farming is not viable, but they’ve considered wedding venues or a housing development.
A brewery allows them to keep the land in a more natural state.
Breweries are allowed within agricultural zones.
“If we deny this, we would need to change our whole ordinance,” Mayor Bill Droste said. “The individual has property rights.”
Anyone who owns agricultural property could start a brewery provided it meets city standards for aspects like parking, setbacks, screening, construction and outdoor seating.
Plans for North 20 include a 4,355-square-foot structure designed to look like a barn.
It would have a taproom, brewing area, meeting room and outdoor patio.
They plan to offer a limited menu with pizza and appetizers, but don’t plan to host large-scale events or live music.
Essler said over time as the neighbors will likely get more comfortable with the use, the city should look at loosening some of the restrictions.
He said he wouldn’t have a problem if they wanted to have a “guy with an acoustic guitar in the afternoon.”
The Schmitz family didn’t request the ability to host a food truck or live music.
The City Council also agreed to keep the patio open as long as the taproom was open. The hours would be until 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Residents, city staff and the City Council shared the same concerns about traffic speed in the area.
The city is planning a speed study in 2021, which could lead to them lowering the speed limit from 50 mph.
The council expressed full support of conducting a speed study as soon as possible.
Community Development Director Kim Lindquist said the study is planned for when traffic conditions return to normal. Current traffic counts are likely less than normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Droste said the city has no plan to pave the road at this time.
City staff studied similar rural breweries in the Upper Midwest. They estimated North 20 would generate between 50-100 trips during weekdays about 200 during weekend days.
Bacardi Avenue would be able to accommodate the expected traffic from the brewery.
“This falls well within the road capacity for a rural gravel road,” Klatt said.
As far as residential property values near these kinds of breweries?
Klatt said overall market values increased near these types of rural breweries based on the city’s research of four other similar places.
Some neighbors were concerned that a brewery would stress water resources.
The land is outside the city’s water and sewer system. Based on the anticipated water usage, it wouldn’t need special approval from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, but the property would be monitored by Dakota County for potential issues.
It’s expected to use about 1,000 gallons a day when actively brewing, which is about once a week, which is well below any permit needed from the DNR, Klatt said.
Droste said based on the amount they’re brewing, “they’re not going to be a big user.”
Schmitz said they’re looking to start construction in 2021 and hope to open by fall 2021.