On this jam-packed city council Wednesday, we now come to the late-night specific use permits that Lowest Greenville Avenue bars Yucatan and Service Bar are asking for -- the ones the City Plan Commission denied, based upon the planned development district ordinance passed by the city council in January. As you're no doubt well aware by now, Yucatan and Service Bar filed suit against the city last week, right before the ordinance took effect at midnight Friday forcing establishments without SUPs and certificates of occupancy to close at midnight. A hearing is scheduled next week; the judge wanted to see how the council voted.
Yucatan was first up, with its rep, Audra Buckley, acknowledging, yes, there has been an issue with double-digit public intoxication arrests. But, she insisted, owner Pete Mylonas is doing all he can to clean up the joint by installing surveillance cameras and hiring extra security to work the door midnight to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
That's not good enough, said Philip Kingston of the Lower Greenville Neighborhood Association: "The issue here is crime," he told the council, and based upon the conditions of the ordinance, which takes into account Dallas PD and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission citations, "That's where this applicant is simply unacceptable for a SUP. ... And urinating in public is something the neighborhood associations, as you might imagine, oppose."
Pauline Medrano, who helped co-author the ordinance with Angela Hunt, absolutely agreed: "Ms. Hunt and I have worked really, really hard to improve Lower Greenville," she told her colleagues. "We talked about the budget a little while ago. The resources needed within that span of Greenville is enormous because of locations like this." She motioned for the council to vote with the CPC; Hunt seconded that emotion.
"In the last two years there have been 24 public intoxication arrests" at Yucatan, she said. "I want you to imagine that in one of your neighborhoods. I want you to compare that ... to Zubar, for example, which the council approved. They have four in the last couple of years, and they're working to bring that down. The Libertine, they had two alcohol-related incidents compared to 24. I appreciate this applicant wants to do a better job, but I am still troubled."
And with that, Yucatan was denied its SUP. Now, to Service Bar.
It was more or less a brief replay of the Yucatan discussion. Only this time, attorney Craig Shiels, repping Service Bar, noted that it's been there 20 years and under the same owners for the past nine. And, he said, there's no proof that all of the DPD arrests made at Service Bar "are directly tied to the establishment" -- including, he pointed out, an aggravated assault that took place outside the bar, which occurred when a patron was denied entrance because he didn't adhere to the dress code.
Said Kingston, all that proved was that the place has "anti-social police records." He also reiterated what supporters of the PD have said all along: "Lower Greenville is not an entertainment district," he said, and certainly "not a place where we should forgive someone for a fight at their front door."
Medrano said she "constantly get[s] complaints from the neighborhood" about noise from Service Bar, "and if we're going to decrease crime, we need to make sure these type of establishments are not in business." Hunt, of course, concurred: "This is about crime," she said. Nothing more.
"I hope you'll support us in trying to clean up Lower Greenville," she told the council, which again voted to support CPC's denial.
To the courthouse we go.