Parents and the owner of a gymnastics center who oppose a brewpub’s plans to open next door packed the Bedford City Council chamber Tuesday night, causing the city fire marshal to turn people away because of overcrowding.
The brewery, planned for 1307 Brown Trail in the Stonegate Shopping Center, was requesting a variance because a church is located in the same shopping center less than 300 feet away.
Over 100 people on both sides of the issue crowded in to the council chamber and the hallway. The council approved the request 5-2.
Parents and the owner of Classic Gymnastics, which is next door to the brewery’s planned location, said they were concerned about safety of children who come to the gym for practice and competitions.
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Gym owner Lisa Wingert said she is not against the brewery but doesn’t want the city to change an ordinance that has been in effect for a long time.
“I don’t want the city of Bedford to put progress before the safety of children,” Wingert said.
Wingert also said that she is concerned about losing out-of-state meets that bring in anywhere from $60,000 to $80,000 in revenue, some of which she says she uses for scholarships to help children.
The founders of Turning Point Beer, who grew up in the Bedford area, said they want to be good neighbors.
J.P. Goytia, one of the founders, tried to address the concerns about safety and said the kind of customers who will come to the brewpub are often families and people who bring their pets and want to watch the Dallas Cowboys.
“We are not the kind of people who hurt people That area [Stonegate Shopping Center] needs an uplift,” he said.
He added that he and the other co-founders have been searching for a location for two years and that the vacant building that once housed a Rent-A Center meets all of their needs for installing equipment and manufacturing their craft beer.
Goytia said he and the other co-founders want to have an amicable relationship with their neighbors
“We are happy to move forward, and I like that the city is asking us to form a partnership with our neighbors,” he said.
Meanwhile, Emilio Sanchez, a planner for the city, said that if the church wasn’t in the shopping center, the brewery would not have to request a variance because such businesses are allowed in commercial areas of the city.
James Neiling, senior pastor of Christ Family Fellowship Church, said he is worried about members of his congregation having to remove beer cans and bottles on Sunday mornings, adding that there is a nearby gas station and 7-Eleven where beer is sold.
Neiling said the church has been in the Stonegate Shopping Center for six years, and he want to expand to hold job fairs and other activities for the community.