City adopts measures to let breweries grow

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SAN DIEGO — The City Council Tuesday unanimously approved changes to zoning laws that will allow San Diego’s burgeoning craft brewing industry to open full-service restaurants and tasting rooms.

The amendments end restrictions that kept brewers from expanding, according to city staff.

“This is how you retain businesses,” council President Todd Gloria said. He noted that some area breweries have been courted by neighboring cities.

Brewers that have at least 12,000 square feet of floor space in zones that allow light manufacturing will be able to open eateries or tasting rooms larger than 3,000 square feet in size under the ordinance. Supporters of the breweries say the previous limit of up to 3,000 square feet was too limiting.

Councilman Mark Kersey said San Diego has achieved a national reputation for its craft brewing industry.

“I think this is a great industry for us to be promoting as a city,” Kersey said. “It seems like every couple of weeks we have a new brewery opening up, and if we can do things like this that are common sense, that do fall into the category of regulatory relief, I think we definitely should.”

Ballast Point Brewing, which is in his district, is looking to expand, he said.

The amendment still needs the approval of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Board of Directors in July before it goes into effect. It won’t take effect in coastal areas until it is cleared by the California Coastal Commission, which could be an 18-month process, according to Amanda Lee, a planner in the city’s Development Services Department.

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