Two downtown Sun Prairie businesses are hoping customers want to mark the departure of 2020 by celebrating in their establishments in 2021, and thanks to action taken by the Sun Prairie Plan Commission on Jan. 12, they are one step closer.
The commission recommended Sun Prairie City Council approval of two conditional use permits — one to allow an outdoor cafe and beer garden at Cannery Wine Bar & Tasting Room at 212 E. Main St., and the other one for an indoor commercial entertainment use for a wine bar and event venue at Flavors! Wine Bar inside the old City Hall building at 100 E. Main St.
Victoria Dockerty is requesting city council approval of a CUP for Flavors! Wine Bar and event venue. The wine bar, lounge, and small event space would be located on the first floor, while the Grand Hall event space would be located on the second floor of the building.
City Planning Director Tim Semmann wrote in a memo to the commission that the second floor event space could accommodate groups of up 125 people. Most of the work on the second floor to convert the former residential space back to its original use as a community gathering and assembly space is complete.
Materials submitted with the Flavors! request indicate Flavors! Wine Bar would be open seven days a week: on Sundays until 4 p.m,. Monday -Thursday until 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m.
Weddings and other events would be hosted on some Fridays and Saturdays, in which case the facility would stay open until midnight.
Semmann recommended approval of the request because the proposed wine bar (considered an indoor commercial entertainment use) is consistent with the Downtown Revitalization Plan and Comprehensive Plan, which encourage a mix of uses downtown. The addition of the proposed use(s) would add another destination venue to the area that could add pedestrian and economic activity, further promoting the historic downtown as an entertainment and gathering destination.
“What is planned for parking for this venue especially if there are going to be larger events for up to 125 people ?” asked Chuck Wagner, from Wagner’s Bar at 110 E. Main St. Wagner submitted his question in advance of the Jan. 12 commission meeting.
“Under the current Dane County Order, a wine bar that does not or has not from July 1, 2019 through July 1, 2020 served at least 51% food cannot be open. What conditions must be met at this time to allow this business to be open ?” Wagner asked.
Dockerty explained she will also have a full restaurant license and subject to state and Public Health Madison Dane County (PHMDC) regulations for those facilities.
In his report, Semmann address the parking issue by pointing out that commercial properties that are zoned Central Commercial are not required to provide on-site parking.
“There are numerous municipal parking lots — including the recently completed Angell Street Municipal lot on the north side of the Bank of Sun Prairie -nearby in the downtown area, along with on-street parking to accommodate customers,” Semmann wrote.
Commissioners agreed with a staff recommendation to eliminate the front seating area at Cannery Wine Bar & Tasting Room after Semmann explained the narrow width of the sidewalk in front of the business would not accommodate serving alcohol there. But a request to locate the beer garden on privately owned property behind the business received a commission approval recommendation.
In its approval recommendation, the commission sided with Semmann, who recommended against Cannery Wine Bar & Tasting Room using an outdoor enclosure featuring a series interconnected wine barrels.
“Per the City’s zoning ordinance, the beer garden area must be enclosed with a decorative fence not less than five feet in height,” Semmann wrote in the report.
“However, any proposed enclosure in this location may not be anchored to the ground due to the presence of existing gas and utility easements that run under the proposed beer garden area,” the planning director added.
“To ensure the safety of patrons who use the outdoor space, staff recommends the enclosure be designed and constructed to withstand a 200 pound load applied in any direction and that the fencing be subject to approval by Building Inspection prior to issuance of occupancy for the outdoor area. The 200 pound load application comes from the building code requirements for similar structures,” Semmann wrote.
The commission voted 8-0 to recommend council approval of both CUPs, subject to conditions listed with each one. That means no wine barrel enclosure for Cannery, according to the staff recommendation.