published on August 18, 2016 - 7:43 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Visalia City Council members recently approved plans for an overlay district that will allow microbrewery and micro-winery businesses to open in the east downtown area.

The proposed district encompasses approximately 220 acres of east downtown, between Murray Avenue to the north, Ben Maddox Way to the east, Mineral King to the south and Santa Fe to the west.

The Visalia Chamber of Commerce and parties seeking to establish microbrewery businesses in the area first approached the council about establishing the district in January. With the new zoning requirements approved, such businesses located in the area will be able to operate without including a restaurant component. These microbreweries will also be allowed to sell beer and wine for off-site consumption. The district does, however, have limits on proximity to certain establishments—microbreweries must be 220 feet walking distance from elementary schools, children’s museums, parks and places of worship.

Proponents assert that encouraging this relatively new business model will provide Visalia number of benefits, such as promoting entrepreneurship and tourism, while revitalizing underutilized buildings and giving new life to distressed areas. In addition, microbreweries are expected to provide an economic stimulus to downtown Visalia and become another draw for locals and visitors alike.

Council’s next action will take place on Sept. 6, when the second reading and adoption of the new ordinance is expected to take place.

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