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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    your experience with roasting location and zoning?

    I posted this in an older thread and got no replies, thought I'd give my question one more chance on a new thread:

    Since I bought my little SF6 6 months back, I've been roasting out of my garage. I'm currently looking to move it into a shop space so I can get the necessary inspections. I love the idea of a downtown streetfront shop, but the places I've looked into don't meet the zoning requirements. In my small town coffee roasting falls under "food manufacturing" and needs to be in a space zoned "light commercial".

    I'm curious what the average city position is on this. Have any of you dealt with zoning issues? Are you in a city with more roaster friendly zoning regulations? If possible, I'd like to build up a list of cities whose municipal code would allow coffee roasting downtown. I'm wondering if it's worth appealing to the local planning commission. Maybe I'm off my rocker and just have to settle for some commercial site off the beaten path. Don't want to.

    ****here's a picture of my roaster as of now, I've got some sweet handmade amish wheels from lancaster county penn, and a mocked up box to try out the dimensions. i'm eyeing the farmers market this coming season.
    your experience with roasting location and zoning?-cart1b.jpg

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2007
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    Salt Lake City
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    What about retailers with in store roasting? What then? Can you approach from that angle?

    I would find someone friendly (they do exist) at your zoning office and tell them, this is my situation. This is what I would like to do. HOW can we make this happen. And there is no, "it can't be done." You are not opening a factory. Appeal to their good side, follow the process and if someone there can be part of the process, they will be more likely to help because it makes them look good.

    Also, I understand that roasting in many parts of California is difficult. I would shoot an email to several existing roasters and ask for their input as well. It's sometimes as difficult for them in the larger cities and it is for you in your small one.
    Last edited by John P; 12-27-2013 at 07:59 PM.
    John Piquet
    caffe d'bolla
    Salt Lake City, UT
    caffedbolla.com

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2012
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    The reality is that you will have some minimum standards to meet concerning the preparation of food items where ever you decide to set up shop. It's entirely possible that you are roasting illegally in your garage.

    We finally managed to set up shop (after much hassle from the city) in a retail district. One of the stipulations was that we had to have a retail presence. I also had to educate the city planners on the idea of a shop roaster versus a larger, commercial units. Due to lack of sprinkler system in our building, we weren't allowed to set up tables and chairs for customers to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee. (But we do have a counter and bar stools where folks are allowed to sit while they wait for their coffee to be bagged. The city has also allowed us to sell cups of java to go.) So we sell beans retail and also wholesale out of our shop.

    Take John's advice above and get together with someone at city hall and work through the issues at hand. A bit of education goes a long way.

    Keep in mind that you will prolly need a two or three hole sink, employee hand wash station, mop station and maybe floor drain where ever you decide to put your roaster. If doing a certain volume of business, that will also include your garage, I'm guessing. State inspections/licensing will prolly also be mandatory.

    Good luck.

    lw

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Thanks guys. I'll definately be thinking about your ideas.

    I have a pretty good understanding of what ammenities the shop space will need to have to be up to code. But I'm specifically wondering about your experience working with your city zoning regulations concerning what locatations are available for a coffee roaster. My city just hasn't dealt with my small time status too much before. One of the only experiences of coffee roasting here was a huge nestle factory that left 20 years ago. So maybe if I just follow your advice and talk with them about the kind of volume I'll be doing, there might be some understanding we can come to.

    Any others out there who can relate the zoning regulations in your city?

  5. #5
    Super Moderator
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    I'm sure you probably thought of this . . . . when you talk to the municipal people, be careful not to mention that you've been roasting beans and selling them from your garage. As far as they're concerned, it's a hobby for your own enjoyment. Some municipal employees have too much time on their hands, and you'd want to avoid having anyone suddenly decide to pay you a visit.

 

 

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