WICHITA — Andy Boyd of Walter Morris Cos. has been in the real estate business for a decade, but he’s been learning a new side of it lately.
Boyd and Ian Crane have home brewed beer together for a decade. Now, they’re opening Central Standard Brewing in 4,000 square feet in a building they purchased across from Hyde Park not far from the southwest corner of Douglas and Hydraulic, but they’ve faced opposition from some in the neighborhood.
“Dealing with the government and neighbors is tough,” Boyd says. “It’s tough when you’re dealing with emotions.”
When Boyd first told Have You Heard? about his plans in March, he says he didn’t realize the park would trigger a need for a conditional use permit to allow live music at the business along with more alcohol sales than food sales.
“The park is kind of why we bought the building in the first place, kind of bringing nature into our setting,” he says.
The planning commission had a tied vote over the permit on Thursday, which means it’s denied.
The neighbors oppose not only the live music, but some oppose the business in general.
“If we were to allow that to go in, it would change the rules for all our parks,” says Carrie Ulrich, whose family owns Aesthetic Aim Dental Lab to the east of where Central Standard will open. “We’re basically trying to protect those spaces.”
A bar can’t be within 300 feet of a park.
“It would change the precedent,” Ulrich says. “Really, it was set up to be a bar that’s sole purpose was to sell alcohol. That’s not what we were wanting to have across from the park.”
Central Standard already has the zoning it needs for a restaurant that has alcohol sales, though.
Boyd initially said Central Standard would have a limited food menu and five or six types of beer to start and then 10 or more kinds of beer eventually.
He stressed that the business was not going to be a bar or nightclub.
“It’ll be family friendly,” Boyd said in March. “It’s about appreciation of beer, not about drinking to excess and all that.”
Now, because of the lack of the permit, Boyd says they’ll have to add lunches to the business. He says they hadn’t planned to have that much food.
“We just kind of need to regroup and figure out how we can accommodate the neighbors,” Boyd says. “We were trying to really work with them.”
He says they offered to not serve liquor and to limit their hours, but he says it didn’t appease everyone.
“It doesn’t matter if they make it a restaurant,” Ulrich says. “It’s still inappropriate for the site.”
She says there are other issues, such as limited parking.
“We think they have great ideas and a great plan, just that this park location isn’t ideal,” she says.
“You know, these things are real emotional for the neighbors,” Boyd says. “People are afraid of what they don’t know and don’t understand.”
Boyd says they can still appeal to the Wichita City Council, but he says he’s not sure if they will.
“I am going to continue to try to rally some support,” Ulrich says of opposing the business.
She also says, “Maybe there needs to be some laws changed that would help our parks further.”
Boyd says there’s always the option to open and let the neighbors see things aren’t so bad and then try for the permit again.
“We’re not going to be what they think we are. They’re going to calm down and realize it’s not such a bad thing,” Boyd says. “Once they realize that we’re not a menace to the society, they’ll maybe be a little more open to working with us.”