*Update: Since the story aired, Boulevard has withdrawn their application for the beer garden*
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nearly two dozen angry neighbors are calling for a city-wide boycott of Boulevard Beer because the brewery continues to push for a beer garden next to their church.
At City Hall, homeowners believe Boulevard is purposely dragging out the approval process in hopes that opponents will disappear.
More than 20 West Siders became upset when they learned that Boulevard asked for and received a delay at Tuesday’s plan commission hearing. They were ready to make their case for why, what they call a bar, should not be allowed in their neighborhood.
“Many years ago, the West Side neighborhood came together with the city and did a West Side plan,” said Christina Ramirez of the Sacred Heart Neighborhood Association. “That way it was preserving residential areas of our neighborhood, to protect us from up zoning and industrial encroachment, which is what this is.”
The issue has divided the community and the Sacred Heart parish, with police called to keep the peace at recent neighborhood meetings.
Nearly half of the 300 homes in the Sacred Heart neighborhood have signed a petition against the beer garden plan, but they say the brewery has dismissed their concerns about more traffic and serving alcohol so close to their homes.
That’s why opponents are calling for stronger action to convince the company to back off its plans.
“Now we are going to actively start an official boycott of Boulevard Brewery products throughout the city,” said Albert Ruiz of the Sacred Heart Neighborhood Association. “We are going to be boycotting and picketing in front of Boulevard Brewery property so we can send him a strong message. He’s not being a good neighbor.”
Boulevard wants to add an outdoor beer garden next to its visitor center, on land that used to house the Sacred Heart Guadalupe Catholic Church rectory.
That land is zoned residential. Neighbors say it’s part of a city plan approved in the 1990s to keep the historic Hispanic neighborhood from being overrun by business or industry.
A representative from the brewery did not attend the hearing.
The beer garden issue has been rescheduled for November 7 before the city’s plan commission.