After several hours of testimony in front of a packed council chamber, a proposed Meridian nightclub was denied a conditional use permit. Ultimately the decision boiled down to location and parking.
Previously, the Meridian Planning and Zoning Commission approved The Oasis, which was planned for 3185 E. Ustick Rd. But as BoiseDev reported, citizens and a VillaSport representative filled two separate appeals.
During Tuesday night’s city council meeting, the council heard from the applicant, Brian Tsai, the appellants Robert Black and Jon Hoeger, and several other members of the public
VillaSport, others against project
Black spoke on behalf of VillaSport, a large gym, spa, bar, restaurant, and social club on the same block. Black said he had many problems with the venue, but the biggest concern was a cross parking agreement. VillaSport did not agree to allow Tsai to use their parking area for cross parking. Black also believes the number of spots Tsai says he has is inaccurate as multiple businesses could share them.
“Think we would need to at least see a sign-off from the other four pad users there that are also entitled to use those same parking spaces,” Black said. “So to arrive at a minimum number of required parking spaces and then he monopolizes the only available parking space in here, we at least need to look at the overall plan now knowing now that there’s a Wienerschnitzel and the Dutch Brothers on there and actually look at real parking calculations on this.”
Council has yet to approve the Wienerschnitzel and Dutch Brothers.
Meridian resident Hoeger testified next about Tsai’s “lack of transparency” and talked about location, parking, and often circled back to Tsai changing venue plans, especially capacity.
“This is the intent for the Oasis. (It is) 1000 plus people, it’s not the 400 people that Planning and Zoning was misled to believe,” he said. “So the question is, why was the intended maximum occupancy not disclosed? I submit that it’s because there’s neither intent nor is there a financial motivation to start turning people away at 401. As we’ve heard already, there’s no way to enforce the 400 cap. What I believe is going to happen is that when the CUP is approved, the 400 person limit is going to go out the window.”
[Huge ‘resort-style club & spa moves forward on Eagle Rd.]
Oasis owner responds
Tsai testified after and spoke about his dream to build this venue, the money he’s invested, and explained why he believes the location many people don’t think works, works.
“I’m sure you understand firsthand how much benefit of art or music event alone can bring to both the city and surrounding communities,” Tsai said. “Now, why did I think this belonged in Meridian? I could have paid half as much rent and put it in another city. It’s because I truly believe that Meridian was the most premier and upscale area that could operate a venue is intended to be just as nice… I look around, I can say with certainty that Meridian needs a music venue a lot more than it needs another gym.”
Of the 31 people who testified, 24 were against the venue and cited traffic, residential, children’s safety, and parking as concerns. The people in favor of the club spoke of their love for EDM music, supporting small businesses, Meridian’s need for a music venue.
After 12 a.m., the council decided to deny Tsai the CUP for reasons including parking and location.The vote was unanimous
“This is a major commercial corner, there are other uses in that, but at this point in time, for all the reasons you all say I agree, it doesn’t make sense at this point in time, this way,” Mayor Robert Simison said.