May 1, 2018

Oasis Brewing was once one of Colorado’s sweetheart microbreweries in Boulder – sporting an Egyptian motif with larger than life palm-leaf fans and hieroglyphs on the taproom walls. The brewery enjoyed a decade-long run in that famous location near the intersections of Broadway and Canyon. But as more and more microbreweries emerged, they pinched on Oasis’ success forcing the breweries’ closure. In 2014, Oasis’ owner George Hanna was talked into resurrecting the brewery by his son and son-in-law, banking on the microbrewery’s still notorious brand of beers.

That dream has taken nearly four years to realize, because Hanna hadn’t found a location suitable for the business’ relaunch. So, they spent the last few years creating contract brews for a few other breweries, such as Prost and Crazy Mountain. The search took Hanna back to Boulder, then back to Denver, and finally the West Highland neighborhood. That’s where he found the Beth Eden Church building (built in 1931) that has stood vacant since about 2007 and was supposed to have date with a wrecking ball. Caving to irate neighbors, RedPeak Properties decided to save the church, but not before a nasty court battle ensued over the zoning of the property the church was located on.

“We were anxious, but also patient, to find the right spot. I don’t think we could have done any better,” says Oasis co-owner and longtime Boulder restaurateur George Hanna. “I love the space. It makes me smile every time I walk in here.”1

Details Surrounding the Beth Eden Church Building Lawsuit & Rezoning

Oasis Brewery Rises from the Ashes after Zoning Dispute | Denver Zoning Issues and Dispute Attorney

Oasis Brewery Rises from the Ashes after Zoning Dispute | Denver Zoning Issues and Dispute Attorney

The following details about the long zoning dispute over the Beth Eden Church and Highlands Square were gathered from local news reports:2

  • The Beth Eden Baptist Church is located at 3257 Lowell Boulevard. It was built in 1931 by the Beth Eden congregation and designed in the Tudor Revival style. It operated as a church until the late 1990s, according to Historic Denver records.
  • The building was sold to RedPeak Properties in 2007. RedPeak Properties planned to demolish the church and put up a five-story, 148-unit apartment building.
  • Plans to demolish the building angered many of the West Highland neighbors in the area, who filed a lawsuit to prevent its ruin. Not long after the city council, historic preservationists, and the developer got involved with the building issue as well.
  • The neighborhood has a history of being a formidable foe to developers, including one project that would have brought a Walmart near the property. Developers and city council members even experienced protests, verbal attacks, not to mention a lawsuit against the city and one city councilmember’s defeat for re-election.3
  • The West Highland neighbors claimed the apartment complex was a violation of the property’s zoning. They pointed to the city’s master land-use and transportation plan, dubbed the “Blueprint Denver.”
  • Blueprint Denver was created in 2002 as a master plan for denoting areas as either “areas of change,” that would allow for building and transportation growth; and “areas of stability,” which would not seek much further growth for the time being. However, the city council determined there was enough language in Blueprint Denver to support some growth in areas of stability to allow for the apartment building.
  • The lawsuit went forward and took three days in court. The trial came to an end on Aug. 23, 2013. The judge ruled in favor of the city to develop, saying there was nothing underhanded about the project and that the city was within its right to rezone the property.
  • In 2014, the city council voted to preserve the church as a historic landmark.
  • The five-story luxury apartment building was built and attached to the church, so that it’s now part of the project.

The Oasis Brewer, which is located on the first two floors of the old church building, will include a seven-barrel brewhouse, a spacious taproom, and a patio for with space 50 people.

Contact a Denver Zoning Issues and Disputes Attorney at Downey & Associates, PC

If you have a development project that is hitting roadblocks because of zoning issues or constituents opposed to the project, contact the experienced Denver Zoning Issues and Disputes Attorney at Downey & Associates, PC. To set up a free, initial consultation, call us today at 303-647-9399 or use the message form on the right-hand side of the page.

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1“Oasis Brewing Will Rise Again Inside Historic Highlands Square Church” published in Westword, April 2018.

2“The City Takes Blueprint Denver Back to the Drawing Board” published in Westword, March 2016.

3“The City Takes Blueprint Denver Back to the Drawing Board” published in Westword,

 

 

 

Categories: Development Plans and Building Permits, Zoning Violations