Board grants business’ request to expand hours, offer beer and wine

By: 
Jamie Ausk Crisafulli
Sunday, October 13, 2019
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Owners of Bloom Coffeehouse and Eatery got the news they have been seeking for months when the City of Glendive Board of Adjustments granted their expansion of non conforming use which will allow them to move forward with purchasing a restaurant beer and wine license from the state to be used at their current location in the Prospect Heights neighborhood.

Owners Scott and Lisa Swanson and Terri Carney have sought to add a dinner menu with beer and wine service to their business for several months. After going through the Zoning Board and the City/County Planning Board with no action taken – the issue was pushed back to the city which put it before the Board of Adjustments, a little known committee that meets only as issues arise. One member stated it had been nearly four years since the board last met.

Wednesday’s hearing in the council chambers also provided an opportunity for the board to hear public comments on the issue before making their decision.

Lisa Swanson gave a presentation to the board and few members of the audience – of which there were approximately 25 in attendance – spoke in favor of allowing the owners to seek a beer and wine license from the state.

There was no vocal or written opposition to the request.

County Attorney Brett Irigoin, who served as counsel for the city as City Attorney Scott Herring recused himself (until recently he had property near Bloom). Irigoin told the board members that the law allows for boards of adjustment to have seven members and even though the city only has five members on their board, Montana code requires four members agree when making decisions about non conforming use changes.

There were four members of the board in attendance: Jim Mires, Joe Fabian, Al Aldinger and Tim Matteson so a unanimous decision to allow the Bloom owners to move forward was necessary.

The Bloom is historically zoned as non conforming, according to City Director of Public Works Jack Rice, because the business was built over 100 years ago, well before the homes that now surround it.

Rice noted that the request was to allow Bloom owners to purchase a cabaret license from the state which will allow them to serve beer and wine at the business. As part of their request, the Bloom owners said they planned to stay open until 8 p.m. four nights a week (Wednesday - Saturday).

Cabaret licenses through the state come with many limits, Swanson noted in her presentation to the board. Among them, the sale of food at the business must account for at least 65 percent of the revenue. Alcohol cannot be purchased without a food order. Alcohol cannot be sold and taken off the premises. A business with a cabaret license cannot have gaming machines.

Pizza Hut is the only other business in Glendive to hold a restaurant beer and wine license from the state, according to Swanson. Because the number of licenses allowed are based on population, Glendive is allowed up to 10 restaurant beer and wine licenses.

The owners of Bloom presented the board with a map of the neighborhood surrounding the business showing that the large majority of the neighbors have expressed support for the expansion of the business hours and offerings. They presented an online petition that was started a week before the hearing which had 793 signatures of support for the business.

Once a few questions were answered all four members agreed to allow the expansion of the non conforming use of Bloom as presented in the application.

Reach Jamie Ausk Crisafulli at rreditor@rangerreview.com .

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