Is it a big ugly tank, a kitschy new attraction or a trendy brewery icon?
The new grain silo recently installed as part of the soon-to-be-opened Diamond Knot @ MLT Brewpub in downtown Mountlake Terrace has caught the attention of a couple of City Planning Commissioners. And they don’t like what they see.
At the Dec. 9 Mountlake Terrace Planning Commission meeting, Commission Chairperson Alice Kier and Commissioner Vic Sood brought up the subject of the recently-erected grain silo. Kier used the term “ugly” four times in describing the small container tower; Sood agreed, stating that city zoning regulations need to be changed to prohibit such structures.
“There’s a great big ugly tank parked on the southwest corner of the brewpub; that’s not going to be a permanent location, is it,” Kier asked city staff at the meeting.
Mountlake Terrace Senior Planner Edith Duttlinger explained that silo is a functioning part of the brewing operations at the brewpub, and that “the Town Center design regulations don’t prohibit that.”
“Then we did a bad job,” answered Kier. “And we better change it,” added Sood.
City officials have applauded the addition of the new brewpub/restaurant to the Town Center District of Mountlake Terrace since its announcement last May. Shane Hope, the city’s Community and Economic Development Director, reiterated city hall’s support of the Diamond Knot project this week. “A successful brewpub in the heart of downtown will add to the vibrancy of the Town Center, including to attract young people,” Hope said.
The comments of Kier and Sood are the first public opposition voiced by anyone representing the city concerning the current work being done at the future brewpub at 5602-232nd St. S.W.
“It’s not the image we want to have of our Town Center,” Kier said of the silo. “We have to fix that. That is just, no. Is there anything we can offer them as an incentive to do something with it? I don’t care what kind, if they want to put a sign in that landscaping thing, and do something to conceal the ugliness of that tank.”
When someone suggested that the metal silo could be painted, Kier responded, “Even paint would be better than what it is now.”
Duttlinger pointed out to the commissioners that the city cannot force the brewery owners to change something that zoning codes allow, or even to paint structures on private property, saying, “I don’t think we can require it, but we can suggest …” Before she finished, Kier jumped in: “Throw somebody on the ground and stand on their neck until they say yes they would be more than happy to make that less ugly.”
When Duttlinger explained that the tower will be a working silo, storing the grain used in the brewery operations, Kier responded, “I don’t care. I think it should be underground and they should pipe it up inside their building through a tube and plant over the top of it.”
On Thursday, Hope reaffirmed the legality of the erected silo. “Based on the grain silo’s location and other factors, the silo has been deemed to meet the City’s codes,” Hope said.
While the silo itself passes city regulations, code does call for landscaping amenities to be part of the brewpub exterior. “Diamond Knot will continue working to complete the project and add landscaping that will help the silo blend into the site better,” Hope pointed out. “We appreciate the Planning Commission’s interest in achieving the aesthetic balance,” she added.
Sherry Jennings, Sales and Marketing Director for Diamond Knot, didn’t comment on the city’s planning commissioners’ statements, saying only, “This is the first I’ve heard of the opposition.”
Diamond Knot hopes to open the new Mountlake Terrace brewpub around the second weekend in February 2014.
— Story and photo by Doug Petrowski