At its meeting Tuesday, the Dillon Town Council approved an ordinance amending the town code, allowing specific types of wholesale businesses to set up in the downtown core area. The vote was unanimous, with Councilman Tim Westerberg absent.
Previously, wholesale businesses were not permitted to set up in the downtown core area of the town. However, the town council decided that was too limiting and wanted to welcome various types of businesses.
"We just looked at our ordinances and decided that, you know, there's some space in Dillon, there's some great businesses out there. ... Let's make sure that our doors are open," said Councilman Kevin Burns.
Not just any wholesale business would be allowed in to the core area, however. The town municipal code now specifies two categories of wholesale business - Wholesale Trade Class 1 and Wholesale Trade Class 2. The first class will be allowed in the core area retail zone, commercial zone and mixed use zone, whereas the second class could only set up in a designated commercial zone.
The purpose of dividing wholesale into two categories is to allow business opportunities within the downtown core without opening it up to possible industrial or noisy, smelly mechanical operations.
"We really wanted to focus within a couple of areas of what wholesale trade is," said Dillon town manager Joe Wray. "We don't want the industrial, we don't want a machine shop. We want to allow for consumable type items and also to bring in some arts."
Wholesale businesses in the first category, those that are now allowed in the downtown core, include an artisan's workshop or studio, brewpub, various types of manufacturers and establishments that produce ingestible items like food or beverages.
Though there currently is no specific business in mind, the council hopes that the changes will provide opportunity for the future. It also hopes that opening the door to the specified wholesale businesses could lead to retail options further down the road. Wray gave the example of a bakery.
"If we have a wholesale baker in town, maybe down the road they would install a walk-up counter where you could purchase a baguette. We're developing a retail component around it," he said. "Likewise, for some of the others, say in the arts, if we have a sculptor and they are commissioned, say through a museum or something like that, down the road maybe they would develop a private retail business connected with that."
An added benefit may be an increased business interest in the downtown area.
"We were thinking that if we let someone with wholesale in, that ... would probably go into retail. When other people saw this building, people moving in, it would increase some more interest, and that is a lot of what I was thinking, is to not have empty storefronts and to just have some interest," said Councilwoman Terry King. "I just think that any interest or any movement for economics is good for all of us."