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More SPUD questions than SPUD answers at Talkeetna Council

by Lorien Nettleton ~ February 6th, 2013

The Talkeetna Community Council’s February meeting addressed a number of community topics during a two-hour meeting on Monday night.

Sassan Mossanen and Bo Barnette from the Denali Brewing Company presented the Council with their efforts to obtain a Beverage Distribution license that would enable the brewery and restaurant to operate as a single business. Mossanen said that the Brewery inherited a number of circumstances when they acquired their current property that prohibit the business from making improvements to their property while keeping in compliance with Talkeetna SPUD codes.
The Brewery currently operates under several licenses, and have had to separate the downtown brewery operation from the restaurant operation with a number of physical barriers. Mossanen said they would like to improve their use of floor-space, and obtaining a Beverage Distribution License would enable them to meet Alcohol Beverage Control Board regulations. Those improvements, however, would require an exemption from some SPUD ordinances. Mossanen says the building, which pre-dates the SPUD by several years, was at one time eligible for an exemption, but the prior land-owner did not obtain the pass. Thus, Denali Brewing Company approached the Council to seek their support in applying for a Variance from the Borough that would allow them to  meet their business goals.

Among the improvements Denali Brewing hopes to make is a re-constructed roof that is better insulated, fixes issues with the way the roof sheds snow, and creates more storage space that would allow them to remove their storage Connex from the alleyway behind the business. The Beverage Distribution license would also allow them to distill and sell their own spirits, which is part of their long-term business plan.

The Council voiced some concerns about how the improvements to the building would affect the historic district, and Mossanen assured them that as a 17-year resident of Talkeetna, he had an appreciation of the aesthetics of town and any renovations would likely enhance the building’s historic appearance. The Council also questioned whether another place to obtain liquor or spirits in town was necessary, and Mossanen replied that the Brewing Company would only sell spirits they produced themselves, and said the businesses placed an emphasis on quality.

The Council was unable to determine if the SPUD Committee would be able to assist in the process of negotiating the SPUD ordinances, and the topic will be addressed at the March meeting of the Community Council.

John Strasenburgh informed the Council that there was a shortfall in Road Service Area funds for summer, 2013. The summer budget usually has about $25-thousand dollars, but this year there was only approximately $7-thousand dollars. Strasenburgh said this meant many area dirt roads would not get Calcium Chloride treatment that reduces dust, and that gravel resurfacing of dirt roads would be limited.

Strasenburgh also told the Council that the Road Service Area sent a letter to the Borough with concerns about flood damage on area roads. The letter identified concerns about Yoder Road at Montana Creek, which has yet to be repaired, and Kallispell road, which has been repaired, but the embankment is compacted gravel and still needs armoring with heavy rock.

Cary Birdsall informed the Council that Borough agencies and experts will meet to discuss a response plan for  possible spring flooding. The Council will continue to discuss how to best prepare for the possibility of flooding when the Talkeetna and Susitna rivers begin to flow again.

Borough Emergency Manager Casey Cook informed the council by email that the Borough is waiting on paperwork that will allow FEMA funds to be directed towards repair of the Talkeetna Dyke, and that it is on the top of the list for repairs to be made before spring break-up.

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