ETX Brewing Co. gets OK to make craft beer in downtown Tyler

Published on Wednesday, 10 August 2016 16:49 - Written by FAITH HARPER, fharper@tylerpaper.com

The final hurdle was removed for a new brewery to set up shop in downtown Tyler.

The ETX Brewing Co. plans to move into a space just south of the new parking garage, in an industrial building that once housed Expert Tire.

However, because Caldwell Elementary property is about 204 feet away, and Calvary Chapel Church is about 70 feet away, the company needed a special use zoning variance to allow beer sales for on-premise consumption.

State law prohibits the sale of alcohol within 300 feet of a school, church or public hospital without a special use permit approved by the City Council.

That special use permit was approved by the Tyler City Council on Wednesday with a vote of 6-0, with Mayor Martin Heines abstaining.

The building is owned by Heines; a lease was signed in May.

City staff said the property is 505 feet away, door-to-door, from Caldwell, but the school within the 300-foot distance requirement because the facility also includes Caldwell Auditorium.

“This is an important element in developing downtown, is to bring destination places downtown,” said Mark Priestner, with Planning Concepts, the firm working on the project. “It’s not operating when the school is operating, and the church is a tenant of the applicant. In the grand scheme of things, when this is developed, there will be a lot of things added to this area and it will further be separated from the school. That parking garage was the catalyst that started making all these things possible.”

A representative from Heart of Tyler, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping revitalize downtown, spoke in favor of the measure. Several councilmembers did as well.

“I’m a big proponent of downtown revitalization,” Councilman Don Warren said. “I love the concept of the food trucks. I love the concept of breweries and loft living - whatever it takes to bring people downtown. I think what we are doing is encouraging downtown revitalization.”

ETX Brewing could be open in the fall.

Senior Editor Roy Maynard contributed to this report.

Twitter: @TMTFaith