The microbrewery and restaurant proposed for Billings' West End will proceed as planned after the city council gave final approval Monday night to a zone change that will clear the way for its development.
The council voted 10-1 in favor of the zone change; Mike Yakawich was the lone dissenting vote.
The development is sought by the Schmechels, who own Montana Brewing Co. downtown, along with other restaurants in the state. It would be built near 54th Street West and Grand Avenue and sit 25 feet from the back of the nearest neighborhood, Cottonwood Grove, and two blocks down Grand Avenue from Ben Steele Middle School.
A half dozen people spoke at the meeting in support of the development; two spoke against it. Much of the discussion centered on the need for the zone change in order for the business to be built. The Schmechels wanted to change the zoning from neighborhood to neighborhood commercial.
In explaining the zone change request Tyler Schmechel told the council that the property had roughly two acres of green space that they want to develop into a patio, walking trails and dog friendly open space. Other properties in the immediate vicinity didn't have the same green space available, he said.
You have free articles remaining.
The public support for the project has been constant.
"From those that did live in the area that contacted me, it was overwhelming for (approval)," said council member Penny Ronning.
City council also gave final approval to proposed changes to the city's nuisance ordinance. In a 9-2 vote, council members approved language that would sharpen the city's nuisance codes, allowing enforcement officers to give more consideration for public safety and property owners' intent.
The council's last major decision of the night was to deny a request from Verizon Wireless and First Presbyterian Church to build a cellphone tower on the back of the church's property. The vote was 7-3 to deny; Mayor Bill Cole abstained because his law firm had done legal work for Verizon in the past.
A handful of homeowners from the neighborhood around First Presbyterian spoke in opposition to the tower's construction, voicing concerns about negative impacts on property value, noise pollution and the aesthetics of the neighborhood.