Competition over beer and parking on tourist-heavy Galveston Avenue has erupted into a $3 million lawsuit that names the city of Bend as one of the defendants.
The owner of the building that houses Sunriver Brewing Co.’s pub is suing his neighboring landlord, who used to run Aspect Boards & Brews but closed the shop and leased the space to an upstart beer tasting room, Boss Rambler Beer Club.
The lawsuit from landlord Mikel Lomsky, owner of The Bakery Building LLC, alleges that neighboring property owner Katherine Sayers of Mtn. Life Properties LLC and her tenant misrepresented to the city of Bend their right to park on property that’s owned by Lomsky.
In pursuing a permit to change Aspect from a retail shop to a bar, the owners of Boss Rambler Beer Club submitted an agreement, drafted in 1996, that appears to allow them to use the lot directly behind Aspect’s building.
Lomsky’s attorney confirmed in a March letter to Sayers and city of Bend Senior Planner Aaron Henson that the parking agreement was in effect. “ALL spaces under this perpetual easement (except for 2 on Lot 1) are for joint use by the owners, tenants and patrons of all four lots on a first come first serve basis,” wrote Alison Huycke, attorney at Francis, Hansen & Martin LLP in Bend.
But the rest of Huycke’s letter hints at the tension over another beer-centric business in the works for Galveston. She argues that Sayers must abide by the parking agreement, and that shared parking can’t be used to meet city development code requirements.
“There is already an extreme lack of parking in the Galveston corridor and approval of this change of use will only make it worse,” Huycke wrote. “If Ms. Sayers continues to pursue such change of use, Mr. Lomsky will take all necessary actions to challenge such application.”
Lomsky, who also owns The Podski food truck lot on NW Arizona Avenue, declined to comment on the suit. His attorney Martin Hansen could not be reached for comment. Megan Burgess at Peterkin & Associates, who represents Sayers and Boss Rambler, also declined to comment on the case.
Contrary to the argument Huycke made in March, the lawsuit that was filed this month in Deschutes County Circuit Court says the 1996 parking agreement is no longer valid because three of the four plots of land it affected are owned by the same person — Lomsky. He owns the building that houses Sunriver Brewing’s pub, the tax lot directly behind it and the tax lot on Federal Street behind the former Aspect building.
The lawsuit seeks a judgment declaring Lomsky the absolute owner of the tax lots behind the Galveston Avenue businesses and barring the defendants from parking on those lots.
The lawsuit also claims the city was negligent in granting the change of land use: “Had the city of Bend competently applied its own zoning code and enforced all of the requirements that code requires … the city would not have approved the land use application as submitted.”
The suit alleges that the city planner approved the land use application without public hearing or notice to neighbors, including Lomsky. The suit also alleges the city’s conduct, through the planner, was “for improper motive” with the “intent” of disrupting Lomsky’s property and relationship with his own tenants.
“This matter originated as a private dispute between two neighboring property owners who have different views of things,” Assistant City Attorney Ian Leitheiser said in an email. “The City isn’t in a position to take sides, but one party is trying to drag us in nevertheless. We’ve notified our insurer.”
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