Mckinney Courier-gazette > News
Brewery’s occupancy certificate falls into administrative limbo
Brewery owner Dennis Wehrmann, left, began his own business after working for the Two Rows chain of brewpubs. Megan Millender/McKinney Courier-Gazette
By Brandi Hart, McKinney Courier-Gazette
Though the Franconia Brewery is open for business, the city of McKinney has not issued a certificate of occupancy to Keith Ashley, the owner of the building in which Dennis Wehrmann’s brewery is housed.
The reason the building still does not have its certificate of occupancy is because the city has not yet accepted the infrastructure for the eastern edge of McKinney Parkway, which was expanded and is south of Franconia Brewery. Ashley was told he needed to provide erosion control on both sides of McKinney Parkway, north of U.S. 380 and east of State Highway 5.
Ashley said he purchased 1 acre out of 2.5 acres of unplatted land from a real estate agent. The state requires land to be platted when it is sold.
Ashley said he learned he had purchased unplatted land after he began working with the city last June on the development of his brewery. The city has not yet filed Ashley’s plat or given him his certificate of occupancy because the city has not accepted the street’s infrastructure, such as proving erosion control on the south side of McKinney Parkway that a contractor expanded, Ashley said.
“Three weeks ago, the inspector said all of the departments had signed off on the final approval for the building and that I would soon get my certificate of occupancy. The inspector said all he needed was paperwork for a maintenance bond,” Ashley said.
Brian James, deputy director of the city development services division, said the contractor who expanded the street in front of Franconia Brewery is responsible for providing erosion control on both sides of the street.
“In order to file a plat, all of the construction improvements have to be accepted by the city. When the city accepts it, that means that all construction improvements, such as erosion control has been installed. If you build a road and tear up the right of way and property on both sides of the road, you have to fix both sides of the road,” James said.
Franconia Brewery is operating without a certificate of occupancy because, James said, he made an administrative decision to help accommodate Wehrmann, the owner of the brewery. A building permit was issued.
Ashley said placed sod for erosion control, per the city’s request, on all 2.5 acres of land, including the 1.5 acres he does not own west of the brewery.
He had many questions this week about requirements the city has imposed on him, such as screening to fulfill American with Disabilities Act requirements on his property. The city required Ashley to install three or four rows of red bricks on the sidewalks near the parking lot entry that have small, raised bumps that notifies people who are visually impaired that they are entering traffic.
Per federal ADA requirements, the city has also placed the red bricks with the raised bumps along sidewalks at intersections in downtown McKinney, and other areas.
The city also requires a living screen, such as plants or small trees, to be planted to block the view of bay doors in new businesses. Ashley planted burford hollies along the driveway to the bay doors of the building, but questioned why businesses west of his building did not have many plants or a living screen to block the view of their bay doors.
Ashley also wanted to know why the city required him to have 7 inches of concrete for his parking lot in order to support the weight of a fire truck. The street that leads to his building, McKinney Parkway comprises 4 inches of concrete, he said. James said the city required Ashley to have a parking lot that would withstand the weight of a fire truck to provide adequate fire safety for the building and so the weight of a fire truck does not cause the vehicle to sink into the asphalt or concrete at a business.
Ashley was also frustrated that a city planner told him numerous times that his site plan was going to be approved, but later told him it was not because there were some issues with it. An architect whom Ashley worked with during the early stages of designing the building quit due to misinformation and frustration with Ashley and the city on the project, and because the land Ashley was sold was never platted, Ashley said.
Ashley added James handled everything for him after he could not get satisfaction from employees in the permits, planning, engineering and inspections departments.
“If every department handled their customers the way that Brian James did with me on this issue, then there would be no communication problems or misinformation,” Ashley said.
James said that he understands that Ashley is frustrated and said that he has been very patient working with the city throughout the entire process.
Contact staff writer Brandi Hart at email@example.com. To post comments online, access this story at www.scntx.com.
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