SUP, Service Bar and Yucatan? Not Your Late-Hours Permit. So Sorry. Ask City Council.

Categories: City Hall

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Photo by Leslie Minora
Philip Kingston of the Lower Greenville Neighborhood Association takes the mic in opposition of Service Bar
Today brought another round in the ongoing fight over whether Lower Greenville is a daylight retail district or an evening entertainment strip. This afternoon, the City Plan Commission denied specific-use permits to two longstanding venues: Service Bar and Yucatan. City council will have the final say when both appeal the plan commission's decisions in coming weeks. But if council says no, both have to close at midnight. And that's that.

Other Lower Greenville locations had it easier; getting their SUPs no problem. They are, once again: Billiard Bar, Shade, Greenville Avenue Pizza Company, Taco Cabana, Kush and Nandina -- the last of which I Googled mid-meeting only to have my computer freeze while blasting the website's lounge music. Sorry, everyone; very embarrassing.

Craig Sheils, a lawyer representing Service Bar, explained to plan commissioners that it's a "long-standing establishment," in business in the same location since 1991 and owned by Loannis Manettas since 2003. D just recently did a photoshoot there for a dub-step story, Scheils said, clarifying he's not "cool enough" to know what that is. But the point is: How bad can it be? Its employees are certified by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Committee, he said, and the organization has not threatened to take away that licensing. As for the 16 arrests in two years for public intoxication and two assault arrests in 2010 -- it's not clear how police connect incidents with establishments, he said.

Furthermore, he argued, there are at least three security guards on site at all times, and a dress code is enforced. The bar will even sign on the dotted line to maintain three security guards, at least one of whom is a cop, if that condition would help green-light the late-night permit, which, thanks to Angela Hunt and Pauline Medrano's ordinance, is necessary to stay open later than midnight. If this SUP is not approved, Sheils said, the decision would have a "dire effect" on the business.

Property owner Steve Schwartz also spoke in favor of his tenant, but Philip Kingston of the Lower Greenville Neighborhood Association did just the opposite, saying that Service Bar is among the bars that draw the largest amount of police activity. "Eight public intoxication arrests," he said. "It's a terrible number. It's a very terrible number."

"I think that's what the neighborhood association wants to do," Scheils said. "They want to shut down all the clubs."

They've managed to shut down quite a few, he added, and they're now one step closer to shutting down another, as the committee voted unanimously not to approve the SUP for Service Bar.

Then came Yucatan. Representative Audra Buckley stepped aside, allowing the opposition to speak first. Kingston stepped up to the mic once again. "This one is somewhat similar to Service Bar," he said. "This one has received the most police attention on Lowest Greenville in the past two years."

"Yucatan is a dance hall. It's a dance hall operating without a dance hall permit," he said. "It's not something that's compatible with community retail. ... 'Dance hall' is a dirty word on Lower Greenville."

Buckley presented a slide show in defense of her client, who began operating the business in December of last year. She offered that they will voluntarily install surveillance cameras, as well as provide three security guards on Wednesday and Thursday and six on Friday and Saturday. The establishment already adheres to a dress code, prohibits gang "paraphernalia" and posts "no dancing" signs in plain sight to adhere to their classification as a "restaurant."

That wasn't enough to convince the commissioners.

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30 comments
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OED_denizen
OED_denizen

Interesting that D magazine should do a piece on dubstep dance music at Service Bar. They are an alcoholic beverage establishment NOT a dance hall. That in itself is enough to cause problems with Code Compliance and the CPC.

Guest
Guest

I shot some home video in my house the other day, which, according to the city, made my home a movie studio.

Of course, the second that happened, the city council wrote me a big check to upgrade my air conditioning, so I'm not complaining.

Dancer and Prancer
Dancer and Prancer

Having a photo shoot inside any business does not automatically make that business a dance hall.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

I take issue w/ them trying to close Service Bar, a great group of people who've been the "neighborhood" bar for quite awhile. w/o complaint. Most of the recent "shit hitting the fan" has been from people like Kingston, who's sole purpose in life is to screw people he disagrees with.  Like I said before, we would welcome service down here in Ellum..

Yolanda2000
Yolanda2000

If you dont like bars and people drinking around your neighborhood dont move into a neighborhood close to a strip of bars. duh! 

Voltaire
Voltaire

The house I live in was built in 1924 and I have lived there for 10 years, mind you, a half block off Greenville Avenue. Living in the Lower Greenville area came first, not entertainment. Having said that, I do like to drink. Some of the establishments, granted very few of them, are great! However, I don't like the elements of those who choose not be responsible while my wife, son, and daughter try to sleep. We are simply trying to create a better neighborhood.

Guest
Guest

Creating a better neighborhood as defined by you and by trying to control what other private property owners can do with their private property.

That's certainly your right. But I would hope that if someone made some sort of objection to your use of your property based on their own definitions of what makes a better neighborhood, you would immediately change your property use to please that other person. If someone else thinks you're wrong about what makes a better neighborhood, you'd gladly accept limitations on your use of your own property to make someone else's better neighborhood happen, right?

Also, the "living in the area came first" isn't the argument being made. He was talking about people who, after it was an entertainment area, moved nearby and started complaining about having to live next to an entertainment area. The fact that someone lived there in 1924 doesn't change the fact that it was already an entertainment area by the time you decided to move there and "make it better"

OED_denizen
OED_denizen

I would like to note that the purpose of the PD and SUP process was to control CRIME! All other aspects of these businesses remains unchanged. BTW crime is as defined by DPD. The SUP process applies to all of the businesses in this area not just the bars, i.e., Taco Cabana, Nandina and Teppo all clearly restaurants had to apply for and did receive their SUPs!

SchluderStrip
SchluderStrip

This is the typical moronic mentality of anyone who buys undervalued property near noisy conditions.  If I had a nickel for every idiot who buys a house at the end of a runway and then whined about aircraft noise.

I was here first
I was here first

@ Yolanda2000 - many of the residents were here first, some of us more than 20 years ago, way before there were bars here. So you really think WE need to move out so the BARS can move in?  Really?? REALLY??

Guest
Guest

If you, as a property owner, have a right to tell other private property owners what they can do with their private property, then surely you'd agree that they should have the right to tell you what you can do with your private property?

NotDead
NotDead

The owners of the business properties do not live in the area. Maybe one or two business owners live in the area, out of 30 (?). No one cares what changes they would demand, nor would anyone listen to them.

The property owners on Greenville only care about making money and wish that the residents would all die quickly - and soon - so they can buy out their houses and put in more parking lots.

Fuck em all

Guest
Guest

The rules don't materialize out of thin air. They come about because people don't like something and complain about it until somebody with some power puts in some rules to try to make the complainers happy (or the rules are passed by the city in an attempt to head-off any complaining or, sometimes, just because elected officials and staff have some sort of agenda).

But to claim that neighbors in the area aren't trying to pressure the government into shaping what private property owners in the area can do with their private property is ludicrous. All you have to do is watch the process and listen to many residents' quotes. It's very much one set of property owners wanting to use the city to force a different set of property owners to do what they want them to do.

And, I can almost guarantee that if the owners of properties where these businesses are located went in front of the CPC and the City Council trying to set some sort of standards for residents in the neighborhood, the residents would be aghast that those property owners would dare try to encroach on their freedoms.

OED_denizen
OED_denizen

As noted in the story, 2 bars did not receive SUPs; however, 6 DID.I believe that the neighborhood groups opposed at least a couple of the ones that got SUPs.So, the CPC must have done something right - both the bar owners and the neighborhood groups didn't get their way completely!!!!!

Dont Kiss Me
Dont Kiss Me

No person has the right to 'tell' the other person what to do.

You start from the bottom with rules and regulations regarding alcohol, zoning, parking, noise and use. If you as the business violate the rules, you pay the penalty.

In the case of Lower Greenville, the businesses think they are better than everyone else, and the residents are here to kiss their collective asses and let them have the neighborhood streets for business parking.

They can now kiss that shit good bye.

Coo coo
Coo coo

The city sets up the rules; not the neighborhoods. It boils down to who has the greater influence.

Texas_Dawg
Texas_Dawg

There weren't bars on Lower Greenville 20 years ago? Umm...

JonnyDallas
JonnyDallas

"there are at least three security guards on site at all times"I can't tell you how many times I've heard stories, or seen for myself, the so called 'security guards' at Service Bar beating people up. They hire jerks who get a kick out of being dicks to people. Good riddance.

Guest
Guest

Living in low-regulation, business-friendly Texas is awesome!

Amy S
Amy S

Hey wait - they don't have these problems in: Houston, San Antonio, Austin. This is distinctly Dallas and goes back 150 years. Really.

When I moved here in the1980's you could drive anywhere with an open beer in the car - but bars were restricted to only areas of Precinct 1.

Guest
Guest

They may not have exactly the same issues (SUPs and whatnot), but there are plenty of, permitting, zoning and land use issues all over the state, including in Houston despite its notoriously lax attitude toward zoning.

And some of the disputes even arise because of state law.

That's not to say that I'm anti-regulation. There are plenty of regulations I support with various levels of enthusiasm. But I am against having a bunch of regulations while telling everyone who'll listen that we don't.

Texas_Dawg
Texas_Dawg

Ha. What a myth that so often is.

abuckley1970
abuckley1970

well, Yucatan is a bar, not a restaurant.  the thing that caught them was no way to distinguish security staff from the rest of the patrons.  there's still the appeal to council but it's an uphill battle because of its history.

And its not a dance hall.

Ramrock3
Ramrock3

the floor personnel wear canary yellow shirts that read "STAFF" on them,,,, they are easily recognized by patrons of YUCATAN......

abuckley1970
abuckley1970

"staff" could mean wait staff, etc., not security. that's one of the issues.

Omm
Omm

By law, the shirt cannot say SECURITY unless they are registered with the State as professional security guards, licensed etc.

At the Granada, the shirts say SERENITY. They are licensed by the Dalai Lama.

MattL1
MattL1

Are the NAs really basing their opposition on public intox arrests?  That's not a fair statistic.  It's basically a fake crime.  

In the end, though, I'm just glad that they approved the SUP for Taco C.  And after typing that sentence, I'm thrilled that it rhymes...

abuckley1970
abuckley1970

there's no way to tell if the public intox comes from one bar or another.  the offer of surveillance cameras was to offer up the proof.  it doesn't matter what anybody thinks - it only matters what you can prove.

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