FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Groups of protestors and supporters gathered in the Tower District on Sunday afternoon as the ongoing feud between a church group and neighboring businesses continues.

Jaguar Bennett is with the Save the Tower Demonstration Committee.

“The Tower Theatre is not zoned for religious assembly, the church has been meeting there in violation of zoning laws, the city has not been enforcing zoning laws,” explained Bennett.

The committee has come out to the theatre to hold peaceful protests for the last 55 weeks and they don’t plan to stop anytime soon.

“This is a business district and the businesses here are bars and, nightclubs and restaurants, businesses that usually don’t get placed next to a church,” said Bennett.

The group’s message is clear to the City of Fresno, Adventure Church, and the theatre building’s landlord.

“We are out here to demand that the city enforce the zoning laws to protect existing businesses.”

One of the businesses most affected by the dispute is Sequoia Brewing Company, located next door to the Tower Theatre.  

The current rental agreement gives the first right of refusal to Sequoia. It’s an agreement that Bennett says has not been honored by the tower theatre’s landlord

“These are people who don’t live in the Tower District and they don’t have the support of the community they are simply out here to harass,”

But throughout the contentious battle, Bennett said they’ve had some recent success in court

This week, there was a victory in court for the Sequoia Brewing Company. The business, which has had a lawsuit pending on the Tower Theatre, has won an appeal that would prevent the theatre from being sold to Adventure Church until its next court date in February 2022.

Those milestones help them to keep fighting for what they believe is the best outcome for the Tower District.