to some it may be just a number, but to us it’s where our heart has poured into for months.
The Back Story on Our Space
From the moment we walked through the doors we knew this was the place. Colten and I were house hunting in June when our realtor, Julie Hester, mentioned the last house on our list was a “cute craftsman house.” We had been searching for a space for the office that was unique and authentic to us but never in a million years thought we would embark on the journey of buying a home and re-zoning the property.
As we walked through the house, we started talking about our “dream” for each room as if we had already purchased the home and made it into Free Spirit Chiropractic. Julie was just as excited as we are (seriously we are forever grateful for you!) and started making phone calls to the city to see if something like this was even possible.
Fast-forward, we purchased the home August 1, 2017 (11 days before graduating from chiropractic school) and everyone we told about the space immediately fell in love. Closing on the house was a nightmare with going back and forth on whether we had the home or not while closing in 30 days. Little did we know that was just the beginning of the stress to come! HA! With the help of a dear friend and another realtor, Alisha Bennett (Colten calls her “the shark of Tulsa”) we submitted our application to start the zoning process of 1733 S. Lewis.
Three days before our first meeting with the TMPAC, we received word that an influx of protesting emails, not one-or three- or five…. but fifteen letters had been sent to the city of Tulsa. Many were upset neighbors about the request to change the space from residential into an office space. We all were completely surprised since the house sits on an extremely busy street in between two “hot spots” (Utica Square + Cherry Street) but went forward to the TMPAC that Wednesday with high hopes.
Eight of the fifteen people showed up protesting our zoning request to the TMPAC meeting! I was shocked to say the least and heartbroken. Alisha asked if I would talk to the council and explain our vision so they could see into our dreams. I was extremely nervous, but knew this was the right thing to do even if I had not prepared to speak.
I poured our heart out for them and we won with a 6 to 3 vote to move forward.
After the meeting, Alisha and I met almost every other day discussing how we could prepare for the city council meeting, which is the final voting. We organized a neighborhood meeting with our district city councilor to address any concerns and hired one of the top architects in Tulsa (shout out to W Design) to help us with visuals. We held the neighborhood meeting on September 26th (a month and week later than our TMPAC meeting) in which we thought we were on the agenda for the City Council meeting on September 27th. We found out that night before the meeting that there was a mix up with our application and we would have to wait until the next public meeting two weeks later.
At the neighborhood meeting, 75+ people packed into a church near the office. It was a nerve-racking meeting to say the least. One minute, everything would be going well and the next I was under attack. Some concerns were genuine such as parking issues, changing details of the craftsman home, etc. while others were wild in the thought of attracting homeless people or drug addicts?! I was definitely feeling the heat from many of the neighbors but went on to explain our vision, our dreams! We weren’t going to give up on giving it our all to make this space ours. I have to plug in here and thank Blake Ewing, our city councilor, who stood by my side that night and believed in another young entrepreneur who is out to grow the community of Tulsa!
Just when we thought we were in the clear...
One week before our City Council meeting, we received a protest petition from the neighborhood. We broke down. I personally didn’t know what to even think or do at this point. Thankfully, Alisha (the shark she is) made sure the city checked every single detail and notary of the protest petition. If the protest petition passed, we would have to have 7 of the 9 city councilor votes. She then went one step forward and set up individual meetings with every single councilor we could get a hold of (mind you, this is a week out). We found out two days before the City Council meeting that the protest petition did not have enough signatures to take effect. Colten and I definitely celebrated this small win, but knew it wasn’t over yet.
October 25th, 2017, almost four months after submitting our application to rezone, the City Council meeting took place. Five neighbors showed up opposing and one neighbor (THANK YOU Rissa!) showed in support. By this meeting, all of the city council members, INCOG, TMPAC, and anyone else who works with the city of Tulsa had already heard about this case. We won the vote 8 to 1.
After the pass, many of the neighbors that had opposed our space came forward to congratulate and give their support. We all understood where they were coming from with not wanting to change the neighborhood, but we are so thankful to be apart of the community.
Thanksgiving came and passed; we were waiting on all the last parts to be finalized (two weeks after the city vote was another meeting in which councilors voted, and then the zoning went through a 30 day publication in the newspaper) so that we could pick up our permits to start our build out. Christmas came and two days after, we received word that it wasn’t over yet.We were told we had to go back through TMPAC and City Council due to a hiccup in our zoning application (we were missing a plat or plat waiver). Just when we thought we were ready to start our build out and open our dream space. Alisha, our architect, Colten and I all worked diligently on getting the application put forward so that we could finalize the zoning and move forward. This time, the process went smoother and we received our permits on February 21, 2018.
Our hearts poured into this space. Many nights were spent laying on the ground visualizing our dreams, hundred of phone calls and emails sent out, and multiple days filled with laughter, tears, anger, and celebrations. We gave everything we had these last couple of months to accomplish what Colten and I have literally