Now That That Greenville Avenue Lawsuit's Online, Let's Look at the Affidavits

servicebarfrinight.JPG
Service Bar had to put up a $3,000 bond to keep its doors open last weekend, after the Lower Greenville PD went into effect.
Well, look what made Courthouse News today: Yucatan and Service Bar's lawsuit against the city over the late-night specific use permits as mandated by the Lower Greenville ordinance. Good timing too, given yesterday's no-go for both bars in front of the city council. The whole petition's here, but by now you're well familiar with its theme:
If this ordinance stands, it will effectively close plaintiffs' establishments, as 98% of their revenue and therefore all of their profits will be lost, along with their investment-backed expectations from their history of operating as a bar at their current respective locations.
I also see the county's finally gotten 'round to posting the affidavits submitted with the petition -- three in total. One's from Pangiotis "Pete" Mylonas, owner of Yucatan; Ioannis Manettas, owner of Service Bar, also filed one. The third is from Stephanie Wooley, the Sheils Winnubst attorney hired by Service Bar in June to help steer the club through the SUP-gettin' maze. Hers may be the most intriguing of the bunch, as it reiterates claims I've heard from those who did get their SUP ... only to discover that getting the accompanying certificate of occupancy was a whole other arduous and expensive ($500!) task on top of the SUP application.

All three follow. Good to read before Monday morning's hearing, at 8:30, in district court. PANGIOTIS MYLONAS AffidavitIOANNIS MANETTAS AffidavitStephanie Wooley Affidavit
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Ed D.
Ed D.

Wait, if it's true that "Yucatan generated over 98% of its revenue during the hours of midnight until 2:00 a.m." then why are they open before 11:30pm? Love of the game?

Your name
Your name

Does Richard Brown think he is e.e. cummings or does the shift key not work on the City of Dallas computers?  I know it is just email but it bugs me when people type in all lower case or all upper case.  His email is the last page of the last affidavit.

abuckley1970
abuckley1970

that's all you got out of that?  LOL  jk.  Had to comment.  sorry  :D

Dan "The Man" Levitan
Dan "The Man" Levitan

Apart from the specifics of the issue, what this really should show is the general idiocy and incompetence of the city hall workers and staff. Although they are "public servants," they act as anything but.

DALLAS IS NOT THE CITY THAT WORKS. Although they might puff their chests about being business friendly, if you need a permit or inspection or CO or any other number of things, they are NOT there to help you. There is nothing more terrifying than being caught in the Dallas City Hall Bureaucracy Maze o' Hell and not being able to find your way to anyone who wants to assist you. Believe me, friends of unfair park. I have seen the devil and he simply laughs when "help me" emails are received on the city's server.

SCamp
SCamp

Robert, Other SUPs were to be voted on last tuesday..specifically the Old Crow. Any idea how that went?

abuckley1970
abuckley1970

Old Crow was recommended for approval by the city plan commission last Thursday.

Rooster
Rooster

Grease the right City Hall palms and this all goes away....

...or at least that's how its always worked before.

Amy S.
Amy S.

Y'know, now that I've chewed on this a bit, I think the more interesting argument would be does the city have the right to trump the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code's laws regarding the business' hours of operation.

In a way, it's a mirror opposite of the same argument made to stop alcohol sales in other area of Dallas - there has been no local option election to allow it. In this case, there has been a local option election (although a hundred years ago, but hey, what's good for the goose....), permitting these businesses to operate within the TABC code. And their licences allow them the right to operate until 2 am. Can the city change this?

Paul
Paul

Yes.  The City can limit the time at which sales of alcohol can be served but cannot expand the time of alcohol sales. An important distinction is that this can only be done by home rule cities and not at law cities.

Alcohol sales alone cannot be the sole criteria for location except for a bar which derives >75% of its revenues from alcohol sales.

Amy S.
Amy S.

???

Mark
Mark

Amy and Paul, this was one of the more fascinating discussions I've read here in quite some time. Thanks!

Paul
Paul

The key point is that Dallas is a home rule city.  It can do anything allowed for in the charter which is not prohibited by state law.  Shortening the hours for the sale of liquor by the drink is not prohibited by state law.  Similarly the city cannot extend the hours for the sale of liquor by the drink because state law sets the time in which sales are allowed.

Liquor stores do not have to close at nine.  They just cannot be open after nine.  They can close at anytime prior to nine if they so choose.

An at law city cannot do this as it is only able to do what is allowed by state law.

hth

Amy S.
Amy S.

OK, I see what you're saying. But here's where I wonder if the bars have some wiggle room.

To allow the sale of alcohol in an area requires a local option election. The city cannot "overlay" the area with a city mandate to OK liquor sales.

So if an area has a local option election to allow the sale of alcohol as permitted by the TABC laws (with sales up to 2 am for certain licensees, which this area has traditionally allowed), then it would seem that the city "overlay" of restricting service hours would violate what had been voted on in in the local option election, in accordance with the state's laws.

I am no expert, but it seems to me that an argument could be made that the state law might trump the local overlay?

Personally I think it's time someone invested the time and effort in a plan of entertainment zones with the current boundaries and population, not one based on 80 years ago.

Paul
Paul

A CO cannot be denied solely on sale of alcohol for a business that otherwise meets the zoning requirements.  This is because the issuance of an alcoholic beverage license is the sole purview of the TABC.

An excellent example of this is the Hooter's in Grand Prairie.  The CO is issued by the city for a restaurant.  The beer and wine or liquor license is issued by TABC.  A protest can be filed against the issuance of a liquor license and then a hearing is held to determine whether or not the alcohol license is to be issued.

Another recent example is the Rick's Cabaret (IIRC) location near the south end of DFW airport in Ft. Worth.

hth

Anonymous
Anonymous

I guess I am very confused. Was "bar" ever a legal permitted use in those locations? Are they basically admitting that they've been operating under an illegal use, and that's their justification for continuing to be able to operate that way?

Also, what is courthousenews.com? Is it a news service or a politically-biased blog? It's a pretty big leap to call the PD unconstitutional. Existing law is pretty clear in that cities may pass zoning regulations regardless of any inconvenience to residents or loss of income to businesses.

Amy S.
Amy S.

This goes way, way back to the late 1800's. Dallas used to have hundreds of saloons downtown, then the state passed liquor laws that required local option elections to vote wet/dry - but first you had to have residents sign a petition to bring it to a vote . Basically a portion of old Precinct 1 was the only area in Dallas to obtain the petition signatures and then vote in alcohol sales - this encompassed a winding strip from Walnut Hill south to the Trinity River. 

Dallas, in the meantime became a nucleus of prohibitionist activity, teaming up with church leaders to effectively block for 120 years every other area in Dallas from passing a signed petition regarding alcohol sales (until 2010). After national (and then state) prohibition was lifted, alcohol still could not be sold by restaurants, only at retail liquor locations. Restaurants and bars had to be licensed as clubs, and a "members" alcohol was stored in a locked locker at the restaurant or club. This continued until a vote in 1971, which again limited the "wetting" up of Dallas to those areas that were already (semi) wet - or the very strip along Greenville we are discussing. The liquor licenses these owners were allowed to buy included the sale of alcohol until 2 am. You can't get that anywhere else in Dallas, even with the new "modified wet" designation for restaurants that just passed.

One could argue that by limiting this activity to one area it created the monster residents are now dealing with.

Paul
Paul

Amy S.

One point of refinement is the liquor by the drink or "local option" election that was held in the early seventies expanded the areas where alcohol sales could be held.  However, they could only be in the previously designated wet areas.

This lead to curious items on the Dallas landscape.  My favorite was the two 7-11's on Forest Lane in NW Dallas.  The one on the south side was packed to the gills with beer and wine and sold very little of anything else.  Meanwhile the other 7-11 on the northside of Forest sold everything but alcohol as it was in a dry area.

The other curious aspect of Texas alcohol laws is the prohibition of vertical integration.  You may be a manufacturer, distributor or retailer, but cannot combine any of them.  There is now an exception for the microbreweries.

Paul
Paul

Under the City of Dallas P&Z ordinances, a bar requires an SUP in addition to being in a location with the proper zoning.

The permitting process for a bar (defined as >75% of sales derived from alcohol) are complicated.

It is my understanding that a bar can locate in an area zoned Community Retail, but has to be a certain distance from churches, schools and residential areas.

The issuance of a CO for a bar requires an SUP.

It will also require public notice and an opportunity for hearing from the TABC.

I am not sure, but I believe that the TABC has a moral character requirement for the applicant who is seeking the liquor license.

Part of the reason why bars are required to obtain an SUP is that they are a business that can be used to very easily launder money.

hth

Amy S.
Amy S.

I believe the "moral character" requirement would only apply to someone who was a convicted felon.

abuckley1970
abuckley1970

Yucatan is located in an area where a "bar" is a permitted use.  It's in an existing SUP that allows it by right.  Not sure about the other.

Paul
Paul

Are you sure?  Yucatan is located in an area zoned Community Retail and MO-2.

A bar in Dallas requires an SUP regardless of the zoning designation for its proposed location.

Paul
Paul

Wow --- So we actually do have a bar on LG! .. As opposed to a "Restaurant without Drive In Service."

So I guess the problem then from a P&Z standpoint is: Can the city amend an existing SUP?

abuckley1970
abuckley1970

a bar - it's one of the few SUP's that doesn't expire.

Paul
Paul

Great ... someone who understands the situation ... What is the description for use on the SUP?

abuckley1970
abuckley1970

Oh yes, I'm certain.  they are located within SUP 1289.  I know code.  I'm a zoning consultant.

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