Meridian City Council members walked out to a packed council chamber on Tuesday night. The reason? A nightclub.
Hundreds of Meridian residents, in letters and in person at City Hall, opposed a proposed 7,000-square-foot nightclub and concert house. The Oasis was planned for the southwest corner of Eagle and Ustick roads. Residents of the subdivisions south of the location were concerned with having a nightclub in their neighborhood, and a neighboring business owner was concerned with parking.
The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the application for The Oasis in March, adding conditions to limit capacity, require music to be focused away from homes, and require shared parking with the future businesses in the area.
Robert Black, a representative for VillaSport, a large sports club and restaurant going in next door to the proposed nightclub, and Jon Hoeger, a nearby resident, filed separate appeals against The Oasis.
Black said his biggest problem was parking. VillaSport opposed the shared parking agreement.
“We need all of our parking,” Black said. “We don’t have extra parking to spare. Our hours of operation at VillaSport are basically the same time as for The Oasis.”
Black also questioned whether the other businesses in the area would agree on a shared parking agreement, because many of the food establishments will also be open during nighttime hours. A Wienerschnitzel and Dutch Brothers are planned for the area, Black said.
To address the lack of parking, Brian Tsai, the owner and applicant for The Oasis project, limited the venue’s capacity to 400 people.
Hoeger said the capacity limit would be unenforceable. He was also concerned with dress code and the fact that The Oasis would be serving alcohol to patrons.
“We have a business that hasn’t even opened yet and has already managed to lose the community’s trust and develop a reputation for changing its story and skirting the rules,” Hoeger said during the hearing. “We have a business whose primary product is to intoxicate its patrons..”
Tsai, a former state trooper, replied that he picked Meridian for The Oasis because he believes it needs a music venue. He said Nampa, Caldwell, Kuna and Boise all have music venues.
“Meridian has nothing,” he said. “I can say with certainty Meridian needs a music video before it needs another gym.”
The council agreed that parking would be a problem.
Councilman Joe Borton said the other businesses would be unlikely to allow The Oasis to use all of their allotted parking.
Councilwoman Jessica Perrault praised the project, saying she liked the mixed use, the creativity and the provision of event space. “I have concerns about the circulation, parking and the traffic,” she said, though she added she wasn’t worried about neighbors’ concerns with the light and sound.
The City Council unanimously upheld the appeals, thus denying The Oasis project.