CREEDE- For over a year, local business owner Kip Nagy has been fighting the City of Creede in three lawsuits filed against Kip’s Grill. According to Nagy, his establishment has won the first lawsuit filed against him in 2019.
City of Creede Attorney Karen Lintott declined to comment on the lawsuits stating only that she highly suggested reading the court transcripts from the respective lawsuits. Those documents were unavailable at the time of this article. However, Nagy has been open with his side of the story.
Nagy began his plight in the summer of 2019 when he applied for a renewal of his liquor license for the upper portion of Kip’s Grill located on Main Street in Creede. In the fall of 2019, Nagy was denied the renewal of the license due to concern of the upper bar’s safety and the fact that there was only one fire exit from the upper level.
In a meeting in September, Nagy asked for leniency from the board only to be told that he would have to become in compliance with the city’s building codes before the license would be granted. This was only the beginning of a long legal process that partially came to a close in Dec. 2020.
In a statement provided by Nagy to Valley Publishing he explains his plight, “This all started in July 2019 when we were told our liquor license renewal was being tabled. We had leased out the upstairs of our building to someone who wanted to run a cocktail lounge up there. The city council said that citizens of Creede had concerns about the business being open late and disturbing neighbors. We met with all the neighbors and they signed a letter stating that they were OK with the business and we agreed upon hours that were reasonable for everyone,” wrote Nagy.
Nagy continued to state, “We went to the next meeting to answer any questions the board might have. When we got there, they told us that someone from the community had called and told them that our outside stairs (from the upstairs to the patio) had been removed and they were concerned that we only had one form of egress from the upstairs. Based on that, they tabled the liquor license renewal again and asked us to put a sign at the bottom of the interior stairs warning patrons that there is only one exit from the upstairs. We were asked to put in a secondary egress and we immediately drew up plans for an emergency exit from the upstairs. We filled out the permit, had it signed by the building inspector and got to work.”
“Two days later, the City Manager, who had been in Creede about six months at this point, contacted us and said he was not accepting the permit that the building inspector approved, and that the building inspector had quit, and they were looking for a new one. At this point, we discovered that we actually, per code, only needed one means of egress because our occupancy load was low. So, we began taking steps to bring our interior stairs up to code as best we could. Note, these stairs and the upstairs were built in 2011 and the upstairs was permitted and approved with just one set of interior stairs.”
It was at this point that Nagy reached out to the Alamosa Fire Marshall to invite him to come and look at the property and was told that although the stairs were not up to code, they should be grandfathered in. A letter from the Fire Marshall was submitted to the board for consideration. The upper portion of Kip’s Grill was subsequently shut down per the direction of the city board until a solution for the egress could be found. “On Sept. 3, 2019, at the next meeting, the board voted to make us shut down the upstairs until the egress issue was resolved. So, we shut it down. We had a structural engineer present 5 different egress plans over the next several months. Each one was wholly denied with no explanation of why. The new building inspector, who lives two hours away, just kept saying, “I’m not doing your job for you” As 2019 turned into 2020, the list of demands from the city grew. Every time we would correct an issue, they either did not like how we did it or they added another item to the list.”
The City of Creede then filed a lawsuit against Kip’s Grill with appeals filed afterward and according to Nagy they have won one of the two lawsuits.
The first lawsuit was an order to reverse the city’s determination to withhold Nagy’s liquor license and the court order is as follows, “THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Kip’s Grill, LLC’s Complaint Pursuant to C.R.C.P. 106(a)(4). The Plaintiff, Kip’s Grill, LLC (“Kip’s Grill”), filed its complaint on April 27, 2020. The Defendants, the City of Creede, Colorado (“Creede”) and Creede’s Board of Trustees (“Board of Trustees”), filed an answer on May 21, 2020. As explained below, the Court concludes it is appropriate to grant the relief Kip’s Grill requests in its complaint. The issue of Kip’s Grill’s liquor license is remanded to the Board of Trustees for proceedings consistent with this Order.”
According to Nagy, the board of trustees has yet to bring this to a meeting and have yet to issue the liquor license. The final lawsuit will be discussed in court in August 2021 and is the city seeking to condemn the building in which Kip’s Grill resides.