At Deep Ellum Brewing Co.'s new Fort Worth location, finishing touches are underway, though a dispute with the city has added one more task to the to-do list.
"In the beginning, I think there was a little bit of a miscommunication between what we considered artwork and what the city considered signage," director of taproom operations Ethan Minshew said.
That's why Minshew said they've had to paint over a mural on one side of the building and cover another with vinyl as they work with the city to get permission to unveil them.
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It all comes down to an ordinance in the neighborhood requiring signs to take up no more than 10 percent of each wall of a building.
Because the murals include words, Minshew said they get counted, though he initially didn't realize that was the case.
According to the city, "The owner submitted an application for a permit for signs that did not show the painted murals. Planning and Development staff informed the owner that the signs and the murals would exceed the allowed sign size. The owner agreed to remove the murals. Upon inspection, the murals had not been removed so a citation was issued."
Minshew said after reading the city's stance, he understands they're trying to protect the aesthetic of the neighborhood. though he hoped they'd realize he wants to do the same thing.
That's why he said he's now applying for a variance, a process that could take anywhere from 60 to 90 days.
"We own this building and the lot next to it, and we're obviously invested in the Fort Worth community and downtown. If one of the principle statements of the sign code is to increase property values and be attractive to visitors and tourists, we feel we did a pretty good job between what the building looked like before we did it and now," Minshew said.
Not only did the murals cost the brewery a pretty penny, one identifies the building as Funkytown Fermatorium, a name intended to make the new Fort Worth location unique.
"That is the name of this building and it's what we were really trying to drive home to the community," Minshew said.
He hoped it'd be a debate that could convince the city to revisit its rule, which he believed would be a benefit to the entire neighborhood.
At last check, the city said Deep Ellum Brewing Co. had yet to start the process for requesting a variance, though they were informed about it in November.