A downtown brew pub for Dumas moved closer to becoming reality Tuesday, when a quorum of Dumas City Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a request by J. L. Wiswell to rezone the former Phillips and Son building at 102 East 7th Street from retail (H) to special use (SP), so that Wiswell and his wife and business partner, Ashley Wiswell, can open an alcohol-related business in the building. Dumas Mayor Bob Brinkmann and Place 4 Commissioner Pat Sims were absent.
The effort to turn the building, which was most recently a quilt shop, into a brew pub has been going on for several months. The rezoning was necessary, because Dumas City Ordinance 983 prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages within 300 feet of a church. The building, which stands at the corner of 7th Street and the east side of Dumas Avenue, is located within 300 feet of The Door Christian Fellowship Church, located on the west side of Dumas Avenue.
The Planning and Zoning Commission of the City of Dumas considered the matter first. On Monday evening, after conducting a public hearing on the matter and hearing no opposition, the members voted to recommend approval of the change.
Tuesday's vote by the commissioners was the first reading of the measure, if it passes a second reading at a subsequent commissioners' meeting, it will take effect. Before the vote, the commissioners conducted their own public hearing. No one spoke in opposition to the zoning change.
Among those speaking in favor of the change Tuesday was Cheryl Clark of Ad Rem Land Company in Dumas. She told the commissioners she supported the rezoning because, she said, a brew pub would not only be an amenity for locals with a taste for craft beer, but it would help attract people considering a move to Dumas and entice tourists driving through town to stop and spend some time and money in the town. "I have been really excited about this prospective project and the brewery, because I think it will give us something else to offer folks that come in." She said the brew pub could be an anchor business downtown that would stimulate the creation of other businesses in the area, helping the ongoing effort to revitalize Dumas Avenue and the surrounding neighborhood.
Ashley Wiswell told the commissioners that the brew pub would have a family atmosphere and offer games and non-alcoholic, house-made beverages, in addition to the craft beer. She said she and her husband had successfully run a similar establishment in Trinidad, Colorado. In addition to offering drinks, the brew pub will have a beer garden with food supplied by food trucks. The co-located Main Street Sweets will continue offering food, as well.
Earlier in the summer, the Dumas City Commission voted unanimously to approve an incentive package from the Dumas Economic Development Corporation (DEDC) to assist the Wiswells in establishing the new downtown business. Downtown business development has been a focus of the DEDC.
In casting his vote for approval, Place 1 Commissioner Justin Willis said, "I think it is a great addition to the community, especially the downtown area."
In other business, the commissioners voted to approve a request by the Dumas Rotary Club to declare October 24 as World Polio Day. Rotary International has made the fight to eradicate polio around the world a special mission.
The commissioners also voted to approve a request by Dumas Fire Department Chief Ronald Pray to proclaim October 6 - 12 Fire Prevention Week. Dumas firefighters will be conducting programs in the elementary schools of Dumas, Sunray, Cactus, and Dalhart during the week that will combine entertainment with serious lessons in fire safety.
Finally, the commissioners voted to approve a request from Dumas Independent School District Police Department Chief Larry Payne to place signs on 4th Street in front of the Dumas High School game gymnasium stating, "Buses Only" and to place signs on both sides of 4th street between the DISD administration building and the DHS campus stating, "Student Parking Prohibited." Payne told the commissioners the signs regarding buses were necessary for the safety and convenience of visiting athletes and bus drivers; the other signs were necessary because the administration building needed more parking spaces, especially during daytime meetings.