St. Stephen’s Loses Appeal; Montrose H-E-B Beer and Wine Sales Begin Thursday

ST. STEPHEN’S LOSES APPEAL; MONTROSE H-E-B BEER AND WINE SALES BEGIN THURSDAY A judge today denied an appeal by St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, allowing the new Montrose H-E-B on the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama to begin pouring beer and wine for customers tomorrow at 2 pm. Earlier this month, County Judge Ed Emmett ruled that the St. Stephen’s building within 300 ft. of the new store’s property line at 1755 Sul Ross St. did not itself qualify as a private school under state alcohol rules, in part because fewer than 100 students attend courses at that particular location. [Prime Property; background; previously on Swamplot]

26 Comment

  • Spec’s needs to ask HEB “Who & How much?”

  • Mr. Butt, tear down that wall of cans.

    Given all the hooch that’s been sold across the street for years, it makes you wonder why the Epi’s went hairshirts and Sharia over this.

  • I heard a guy last week asking an employee why there was no alcohol in the store. The employee replied that the license was under review/appeal. The (rude) customer stormed off and said, “well the paper said you had the license already.” Now, he can rest easy…as of 2pm.

  • But, St. Stephens had no problem asking HEB for donations to their school. More hypocracy hidden behind religion and “high” morals….

  • County Judge Ed Emmett, on the payroll of big grocery …

  • @sarahc & markd: Try reading the TABC code. specifically section 109.33 (i)(2). I’m no lawyer or judge but the 100 student requirement is clearly spelled out and isn’t relevant to Spec’s. If you have a citation that proves that the judge is “on the payroll of big grocery” then please support your assertion.

  • What really surprises me is that there is no easy connection from the instead of the store around the Cafe on the run, to the outdoor seating area. The addition of alcohol is welcome, though I’d also like a door.

  • Now, if grocery stores could join the 21st Century and sell hard liquor. I never really understood the logic in not allowing those sales but sales of beer (ick) and wine.

  • takeshi – You are apparently not a part of the city’s permit office either as they seem to be granting and denying applications without knowledge of the rules they are charged with enforcing. Perhaps they should read laws more closely as companies are spending millions in our city based on their decisions.

  • Have to love those Baptist Butts. Anything to make a dollar. Courage of their convictions: NOT!!

  • @sarahc: Examples, examples, examples!? I don’t necessarily think you’re wrong but prove you’re right. Your point would be much more credible if you cited specific examples where the city’s permit office has ignored the TABC code.

  • ==================
    So far, everyone is wrong with respect to the facts concerning this case, again.
    HEB leases property from Texas Abercrombie Family Trust, who owns the entire 7.8 acre parcel of land designated with the address of 1701 West Alabama. Before, the loss of their liquor license, the property was platted as a single parcel of land. To get around the city ordinance, HEB negotiated with the owners to replatt the property into 2 distinct parcels of land, where the HEB property line would be more than 300 feet from the private school’s property line.
    So now there are two separate parcels, one that is leased and controlled by HEB and the other that is owned and controlled by the current owners. The parcel under control of the owners is about 60 feet wide and located along the east side of the 1701 property line.
    The only downfall from this trick might be with respect to future lawsuits. The owners will now be liable for any injuries that occur within their newly repossessed land. They will also be responsible for nuisance lawsuits from the neighbors.
    This was a clever trick by Scott McClelland and that’s why he’s so rich – he outsmarted the school, the property owners, and the public.

  • The case with Spec’s is much different. The city location office is a complete joke. They have one and only one purpose, which they fail miserably. They waste business owner’s money by approving sites that are wrong because the owner has to dig deep and hire lawyers to sue the city. They waste tax money because the city will eventually be found at fault and have to pony up $$$ of taxes as restitution. It’s the city’s fault for screwing Spec’s by approving a location for a liquor store that violated the letter of the law. The city should be forced to make Spec’s whole. ie: lost business revenue, cost of lease, cost of legal fees, cost of renovations to the existing structure, etc. Whoever works in that location office should be fired and never allowed to have another job in government again, except for maybe sanitation.

  • Correction:
    “located along the east side of the 1701 property line.”
    – should have been west side.

  • @Trash, when did the replat happen, because it isn’t reflected in the HCAD records.

  • @Ross
    It appears that they started this sometime back in early November, or possibly late October. I asked for confirmation from the planning commission but haven’t heard back yet.
    More puzzles to solve.

  • Well, wiz, they ignored it when they issued Spec’s place on Washington a permit to do business there. The code shouldn’t be so fuzzy that it requires long court battles and the accompaning attorney’s fees to figure it out. That does not foster an encouraging climate for business start ups.

  • Montrose Trash, can you please confirm whether another of your online aliases is Montrose Slums?

  • “Montrose Trash: ‘…I asked for confirmation from the planning commission but haven’t heard back yet. More puzzles to solve.'”
    What puzzle is there to solve? If you’re correct, it just means HEB used a procedure that allowed them to run their business. The puzzle should be how to avoid having business do all this crap just to open their doors. The puzzle should be how to make the government be a lot more business friendly (to avoid the ‘jobs are good, but business is bad’ irony).
    I’m not faulting you for trying to uncover what you think might be a scam, but I’m curious as to your motivation. Are you just that much against the new HEB that you’re asking the planning commission for documents hoping to find that something illegal was done to shut them down?

  • Cody,
    What if HEB did break the law? Don’t you think Houston is pro-business enough that it isn’t asking too much to enforce what few rules we have? Why are you jumping all over Montrose Trash for a exercising a little due diligence as a concerned citizen to check to see that all is in order? I know that for many, Houston is just a place to make money… but this ain’t the wild west and this ain’t Russia, and some of us are actually trying to live here and this pro-business at all cost mentality sure makes it hard.

  • I don’t mean to jump all over him and made a point to say I have nothing against his crusade. And if HEB broke the law I hope they’re busted. I was just curious what brought on the desire of his to investigate.

  • @Cody
    I appreciate your naiveté in your puzzlement. Let me try to explain.
    1. Unfair Business Tactics: Large businesses have a better opportunity to fund city and government officials and receive favors that small businesses cannot. In this case, a small business owner would have been closed down under similar circumstances.
    2. City Ordinances: City ordinances should be enforced since this is what the public requires. This means that citizens need to be vigilant if they want to maintain their ordinances. If a city ordinance is not enforced, then it can set a precedent for future cases and nullify the ordinance.
    3. City Ordinance Exceptions: Exceptions, which might be stated as defenses in the ordinance, should be applied as written and applied equally to all cases without preferential treatment. This can lead to unfair business tactics where some business owners are given an exception. Again, this might depend on personal relationships with city officials and campaign financing.
    4. If city ordinances become for sale, then the public and small businesses will suffer the consequences.
    5. HEB did not break the law nor is it suggested as such. They used their power and influence to manipulate the system in their favor. It is clear that replatting the area was a sham to avoid the city ordinance in this case. A smaller business wouldn’t have succeeded in such a venture; the County Judge would have ruled it as a sham and rejected the application.
    Cody, my personal motivation shouldn’t be your concern. Instead, you should be concerned with the personal motivation of your local City Officials and how they protect the interests of the public and small businesses.

    This of course is just my opinion.
    It’s up to us to control our quality of life.

  • @montrose trash

    Your motivation is pertinent because you have been quick to question others….

    There are plenty of retail locations in Houston that reside w/in 300′ of a school that DO sell alcohol. In these instances the school’s simply waived their right to protest. Why did St Stephen’s choose to protest?

    Has it ever occurred to you or others that St. Stephen’s had an alterior motive?

    Maybe they thought they could get HEB to buy their property so they could relocate it west of Woodhead and closer to their elementary school. If so, maybe they saw this as an opportunity for legal extortion.

    I don’t see the issue with HEB selling beer given that Fiesta has sold from another 50 feet away for 25 years!

    Speaking of Fiesta, the bigger issue for our neighborhood is their center being sold so a multi story apartment can be built.

    That’s a fight worth having, not whether HEB sells beer.

    Get over it and move on. If you can’t, run for city office and bring about change instead of ranting.

  • @Peter
    1. “simply waived their rights” :
    It depends when the retailer and school coexisted, both in absolute and relative time scales, as to how the two are situated at this time. Please share with us the schools, names and locations, that actually waived their rights.
    2. “alterior motive”
    Maybe it wasn’t an ulterior motive; maybe they negotiated and couldn’t resolve their differences. As far as legal extortion is concerned, it goes both ways. HEB knew where the school was before they purchased the property and understood the problem before developing their store.
    3. “another 50 feet”
    The ordinances are specific: 300 feet as measured between property lines. The ordinances are written in common language and you can find them online. (Fiesta is more than 600 feet away from the school property line, which would be another 300 feet or more, not another 50 feet.)
    4. “Speaking of Fiesta”
    There are ordinances regulating development, like ordinances regulating the location of alcoholic beverage retailers near private schools. Basically, developers can build whatever they choose as long as they adhere to city ordinances. If they violate a city ordinance, then you can fight against the developer, and possibly the city.
    5. “the bigger issue” and “get over it”
    You might think about how NIMBY attitudes are more destructive than NIOBY. You might want to support your distant neighbors so they will support you and your local neighbors – survival in numbers theory.