SALT LAKE CITY - Residents in Salt Lake City's Foothill community are fighting against a tavern in their neighborhood, and they took their concerns to a community meeting on Thursday.
Critics say the Brewhaha Tavern will attract excessive traffic and they don't want their kids walking by a bar.
If the planning commission approves a conditional use permit for the bar’s owner, the tavern would be located on the southeast corner of 2100 East and 1300 South.
Bryce Jones is remodeling an old, vacant bank to turn it into a tavern that would serve beer, coffee and deli sandwiches. First, he needs a conditional use permit, then a liquor license, but some residents in the foothill community are trying to stop him in his tracks. They packed the Anderson-Foothill Library concerned about beer being served in their backyard.
"My major concern is that it will bring strangers and addicts into our neighborhood and addicts always look for opportunities and we'll no longer be safe," said resident Kathy Wilson.
"Someone made an interesting comparison that when Blue Boutique was trying to open on 21st South across from Sugarhouse Park, everybody was worried. Up in arms that it was going to degrade the morals of the neighborhood, corrupt the youth, that their children couldn't safely walk by and there haven't been any problems at all," said Jones.
He insists the Brewhaha Tavern would be upscale and Jones has the upper hand after the Salt Lake City Council approved an ordinance allowing neighborhood bars last year.
Jones also believes he has enough parking spaces on his property and nearby to accommodate patrons so they don’t have to park in neighborhoods. However, residents fear that’s inevitable if the bar's open 19 hours a day, 7 days a week.
"It would be all the time til 2 in the morning and that's a lot of traffic," said resident Holli Yoho.
"I think everyone needs to get out of their cars and start walking in their neighborhoods. I'm for Brewhaha. I think it can only help our neighborhoods, I think it's a great place for people to go and meet their neighbors," said supporter Robin Harmston.
As long as Bryce Jones can meet requirements for a conditional use permit and the Salt Lake City Planning Commission approves, legally, no one can stop Jones.
He’ll have to meet a laundry list of requirements which some council members say is difficult, but Jones believes he’s up to the task and plans to open the tavern by August.