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Intro to Coven Brewing and revisions to Spirit expansion plans: 2/10 CDAM recap

Summary of 2/10/2022 Community Development Activities Meeting notes

Introduction to Coven Brewing: Caiti Sullivan and Trevor Grier presented their plans for their new business Coven Brewing, to be located at 4901 Butler Street, formerly the location of Roundabout Brewery. This is a change of ownership, with liquor license transfer, and they are hoping to open in mid-March. Their hours will be the same: 

  • Weds/Thurs 4-10pm
  • Fri 4-11pm, 
  • Sat 1pm-10pm, 
  • Sun 12-5pm

They don’t plan to make many changes in the building and overall format,  but they will brew their own beer. For food options, they will be teaming up with food trucks and pop ups, including a mix of familiar faces and some new to the scene. They will begin by serving a simple menu of beer and over time will expand both beer offerings, such as IPAs, kombucha, etc, as well as wine and spirits over time, with a focus on PA produced alcohol. They have no plans at this point for regular entertainment, music, or a DJ. They will have an occasional party with music, following the example of Roundabout by obtaining a permit to close down part of the street. Asked about COVID safety protocols, that answered that there will be outdoor seating, they won’t require vaccination cards, and they will follow CDC recommendations and state/local codes when deciding their masking policies. 

Review and discussion of Spirit expansion plan changes

In the case of Spirit expansion plans, the conditions that trigger the process are:

  • New structures and expansions are over 2400 ft 
  • Requires a use variance or zoning change

LU Director Dave Breingan covered the contextual history of today’s presentation and discussion, with many community meetings and dialogues over the years.

  • 2014 – Moose closes
  • Sept 2014 – Spirit goes through LU/LC community process, resulting in Conditional License Agreement (approved by City Council, with additional stipulations attached to the license as mutually agreed upon by community and Spirit.
  • Spring 2016 – 3 meetings about noise issues with neighbors
  • May 2017 – community meeting on soundproofing improvements & modification of CLA with Spirit
  • July 2018 – community meeting on proposed rooftop deck
    • Plans include 50-person patio, insulated roofing to address noise, green space, solar panels, apiary, and rainwater catchment system
  • June 2021 – community meeting held on proposed patio enclosure

Dave also shared this info on the March 10th Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing on Spirit’s expansion.

Spirit Owners Thomas Barr and Leigh Yock presented their revised plans, explaining that the changes are meant to help solve a number of issues that have come up over the years, especially accessibility issues and noise complaints. They also want to add a cozier dining room than currently available, rooftop dining, and garden space. The zoning issues being considered at the 3/10 ZBA meeting include dumpsters, parking spaces, setback variance that will be right on the property line, abutting 50th street, and continuance of the side yard setback facing the paper street, and a side yard setback for the dumpsters, which will be behind a fence.

Currently they have 24 spots for their parking lot, and 15 in Sunoco for a total of 39 spaces, which exceeds the minimum required by zoning. They want to move their bike parking to allow 24 bikes total ( 12 spot with 2 bikes per space).

Dining spaces will be in a new excavated space, below where the current patio seating is, brought down to the level of the lodge dining floor. They will add an accessible entrance and hallway that will bring people into the dining room. To address the concerns about noise, the new space will be subterranean, enclosed in cinderblock and drywall. The dining room generally will have no live music, only background music, except for special events, in which case the four garage windows windows will be rolled  down.

Looking at the next floor up, the space between the event space and the smoking patio will be separated by a newly constructed “tower,” including staircases, service and storage areas, and bathrooms, creating a mass with air gaps for sound protection for the neighborhood. The smoking patio in the rear will be completely screened off by an 8-ft concrete wall.

For the new roof deck dining space: to help block sound they will have decking, table mass, and planter boxes one-third filled with soil along the parapet of the dining space and don’t plan to have amplified music in that space, although occasional private events such as weddings may include violins, or small party DJ set ups, as background music. The tower space will also block noise from the rooftop dining.

For far more detailed notes and illustrations of the introduction to COVEN and Spirit expansion plans, as well as resident questions, comments, and concerns, please see these notes.

For additional materials from the community meeting:

  • View LU and LC presentation here
  • View the video from the community meeting here

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