Difficult Roads | Often Lead to Beautiful Destinations
Oct 29th 2018 | Posted by Farm Shed Wines & Brew

Difficult Roads | Often Lead to Beautiful Destinations

Happy Monday and thank you for checking out my new blog!

Just a fun fact for you, over the next five years you'll be gifted with 260 different Mondays so let's all agree to embrace Mondays just a little more.  Each Monday is fresh and full of promises, just think about the possibilities that you could create over the coming week!

It is my goal with this blog to provide more young entrepreneurs, farmers and business owners with insight to navigating the Pierce County "red tape" filled system that we have faced over the previous two and a half years while also giving our customers updates to where we are at with getting our doors reopened.  Ultimately, no one should have to go through or be put in the same position that Pierce County has put my farm and small business through.  I would love to see more farmers, and business owners network together on licensing, permitting and "red tape" topics.   

I am opening up this blog to any and all questions regarding my farm and small business. My direct contact info is at the end of this post so do feel free to reach out!

Some of you may already know the Farm Shed story, the struggle we are facing with

  • Tacoma Public Utilities
  • Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department 
  • Pierce County.  

For those who do not, I am going to do a brief catch up over the next few blog posts, but ultimately get everyone caught up to where we are this week.

Let's start at the root of the problem, our land is zoned ARL (Agricultural Resource Land).  It is important to know your zoning because this will absolutely determine what your property uses may be.  You can find a lot of this information on zoning and more about your property at the Pierce County Assessor and Treasurer website by using the Parcel Search.

Pierce County defines ARL as:

The Agricultural Resources Land (ARL) classification is a resource based zone. The purpose of this designation is to promote long term commercially significant agricultural resource use. ARL sites designated as such if they contain prime agriculture soils with high yield of 3.5 tons/legumes/per acre, and the parcel is greater than 5 acres or contiguous parcels that make up 5 acres or greater.

Here is the link to zoning designations for agricultural lands.

Under this zoning one of my allowable uses, aside from production farming, a mobile home or single family detached housing, or two family detached housing is Agritourism.  

It was in September of 2015 when I began application for the Agritourism use as well as my liquor licensing. I flew home from California to meet with Pierce County five times between September 2015 and April 2016 before Pierce County added wineries and breweries to allowable uses within Agritourism.

Let's fast forward a year later to March 2017 

My business had been open for a year and we were finally able to enter into a contract to purchase the forty acres in which Farm Shed sits on.  I still had not built the brewery, however I had to have a Liquor Board inspection of the brewery in order to keep my brewery license application active.  My building permit was not progressing at the county, I had disputed the commercial fees and requirements because back to point number one commercial is NOT an allowable use on ARL zoned land, yet that is what Pierce County wanted to charge me for. 

The cost of losing my brewery licensing far exceeded those of my fines associated with building without a permit, so long story short - by August I had a new 1200 square foot, single story hop processing facility and brewing space.

I am going to stop for today to keep the blog interesting and rolling, but let's recap...

Zoning: ARL

Land Use Allowable: Agritourism

Pierce County wanted me to pay commercial building fees for permitting

and finally I built without a permit.

Follow up tomorrow to find out how those commercial building permit fees trickled down to Tacoma Water wanting to initially charge me $100,000 to connect to their water line.





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