Elmore: Distillery, lodging on commission agenda

By Larry Limpf

The last time significant amendments to the Elmore zoning code were approved, Airbnb hadn’t even been launched.
Next week, the Elmore Planning Commission will consider proposals that would be well suited for Airbnb users. One proposed amendment would allow short-term lodging to be offered to the public in the central business district and another would allow dwellings on the first floors of certain areas along the perimeter of the district.
A third proposal on the commission’s agenda would allow for limited production of beer, wine and liquor in the business district.
The commission is scheduled to meet Dec. 21 for a public hearing on the proposals. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the village community center, 410 Clinton St.
Dave Hower, village/zoning administrator, said a local business owner, Ernest Scarano, has requested a zoning change to accommodate a small distillery.
“He would like to open up a distillery with a tasting room,” Hower said. “He’s renovating a building downtown to do that but our zoning doesn’t allow distilleries to be put in certain areas. So we’re going to the planning commission and discuss zoning changes with them so we can facilitate those kinds of things.”
Scarano has operated a distillery in the Fremont area and owns the Mantiques store on Rice Street in Elmore.
Hower said there are a few places of lodging booked through Airbnb in the village, including two units on the second floor of a Rice Street business, but the village’s zoning code needs to be updated as a conditional use to allow it.
“It doesn’t specify that type of dwelling and we want to clear that up so we could support those businesses in the central business district,” he said.
The district extends from Harris Street to Clinton Street and Toledo Street to Maple Street.
“You can’t have a first floor dwelling in the downtown area but you can on the outskirts of the district,” Hower said. “We’re probably going to have a couple meetings because a lot of these zoning ordinances need to be updated to support new business ideas and entrepreneurs that have gotten into Airbnb and other new forms of businesses that are non-traditional and part of the modern era.”
Members of the planning commission include Mayor Rick Claar, one member of village council and three residents.
Recommendations of the commission are non-binding and will be forwarded to village council for further consideration.


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