The proprietor of the Heights’ Beer Island writes in, breathlessly and at length, to report on difficulties he’s encountered getting a beer-and-wine license for the Trail Mix Café, a second establishment he’s trying to establish just a few blocks west:
I am opening a new cafe on White Oak Drive by the new trail and was given a permit from City of Houston for the approval of address to be able to serve beer and wine. After i picked up legal document from permitting office i went to receive stamp from state comptrollers office, than went to city of secretary, received stamp, went to county secretary, clerk placed notification in paper, pd fee, picked up application after 2 weeks had gone by, than took to TABC and they reviewed application, was given window notification sign, I placed in window, 3 weeks go by, checked w/ TABC to make sure no problem, no one called me but thank goodness I called, found out a hold on license, went to TABC to meet w/2 representatives from TABC, they informed me that City of Houston had reversed their approval on location . . .
. . . because the café was in a “dry area.”
So . . . the owner of the new establishment at 3202 White Oak, next door to the Montrose Skate Shop, wants to know: Where, exactly, does it say that the Heights is dry?
On with his narrative:
How can the 1 city of houston office that is given the responsibility to check for location being 300 feet from church, school, and govt building, and checking for dry areas. Having an existing bar already in Heights for 4 yrs., no one seem to know of where abouts of dry line on white oak dr. I had heard by older gentleman it was the old railroad track, now trail, that is why i went to city to make sure i got legal document and approval before a spent any money.
After meeting w/TABC i went downtown to the Bob Lanier building to talk w/ supervisor about why I was given the approval for beer/wine service and it taken so long for them to correct mistake. No one had an answer or [could] show me dry area in Heights.
Then . . . the mysterious reversal:
Asst. supervisor leaves to get head supervisor, while waiting, TABC calls me and says Austin has called and that they could not hold license because I had received necessary stamps. So i left city, w/out any supervisor showing any legal document or map of dry area. I drive back to TABC and they give me application back to see judge in morning to sign off and I went to courthouse next day and judge signed application and circled NO PROTEST. Walked over to Tax accessor office to pay state $1,700.00 for license, and than back to TABC to pay for food and beverage part of license, 565.00, and was told license would be received in 5 business days. NOT!!!
Next day 2 City of Houston lawyers go in TABC and give them documents from City of Secretary’s office reversing appoval on address being dry. Why have a judge or judge rep to sign off at end and circle no protest and have me pay money to state, ( which as of April 15, 2009 have not received back)? So spending several thousand of $$$ on lawyers, now i am angry that no one from city has called me and no apology or answer of what was going to b done w/ this huge mistake their rep made by not given the correct decision someone high up on the ladder wanted, so they want me to sit back and be ok w spending $60,000.00, and just go away. Not!!!
Time to hit the books:
So I start researching like a detective to find out the history of the City of Heights and the City of Houston Annex Agreement. Well here it goes, when 2 municipal cities make an agreement it must be put on paper and be official by signatures of approved officers and have seal stamps. So they say there was a meeting by heights in 1912 and voted town to be dry, so when heights annexed into Houston they both agreed on keeping dry status.
If this meeting took place by [two] municipal cities and made a agreement of such, than their has to be a legal piece of document with two stamps that are half dollar size and where is the document, minutes, anything that states there was a vote by Heights to make city dry. Are these documents in a vault somewhere? No one knows where they are kept and if the city has this document, it should be in somewhere so public can review. If city has document than why would’nt the only office that is assigned to give appoval on Alcohol Free Zone certificates is not aware of dry area and why was it not fixed 6 years ago when same issue occurred when other restaurant had similar issue. I have viewed some crazy maze that is very misleading on exact boundaries, but who made this map? Hmm, a lady name Sister Mary Agatha ni 1956, i believe wrote i book and she was living in heights in early 1900’s, and placed this map in book and that book is the only place i have read that had that map, and a book is not a legal document and that book does’nt have any copy of a legal document signed by 2 municipal officers or reps.
So if no one has documents, doesn’t that mean when city of Heights annex w/ city of Houston, a wet city, it should become a wet area as well? Also if there is some legal document in a vault, when this agreement was made, it was made for no distribution or selling of any type of alcohol in all of Heights, and if area was changed by officers of existing city, without city having a local option election, would’nt that change for all of Heights. If you change the agreement of the area supposely was to stay dry, allowing a business to sale alcohol, than the usage of street has change from what the usage was when agreement was made, all of the street should be able to sale alcohol.
I think I deserve the respect of at least showing me a legal document that has this agreement. Several residents have acknowlegde the improvement of property and happy to be getting a new cafe to dine, and does it realy make a difference allowing a cafe to serve a nice glass of wine or cold import beer w/ a meal, when there are 7 places within a block or 2 on same street serving alcohol already, or is it just a bitter individual or individuals that wants to call anyomously to cause problems for an entrepuneur who is wanting, in times where alot of businesses are closing, to give the community a new enviroment to visit and relax and dine.
Remember, this is in the 4th largest city in united states next to downtown, not in the middle of the country or family suburbs. Also if people have a issue w/ a business or business owner that supports all civic associations and donates to their events, come out as an adult, and explain why you have a problem and stop the anoymous calling @ 311 or down at city causing delays for entrepuneurs to bring new businesses to the New Heights!!!
And then the announcement:
Being from Houston and seeing how small business owners are being treated unfairly i will be sending out a news release announcing I, Lonnie Allsbrooks, will be a candidate for the City of Houston Council seat At Large Position 1, and have already announced my treasurer’s name to the City of Secretary’s office and will be having several campaign fundraisers all around the Houston areas and will be supported by the largest community in Houston, bars and restaurants, my passion for this type of work is something i will always support and have the drive to make Houston one of the best entertainment communities in the U.S.
Thank You and remember “The Trail to a New Beginning, starts by calling the City of Secretary’s office and asking where is the legal document that states the Heights is dry? Is the Heights really Dry??? GOT PROOF???