H-E-B Confirms Dry Zone Petition Involvement; What It Costs To Live in Houston


Photo of Elan Heights: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool


25 Comment

  • Re Urban Edge story on Sharpstown vs Oak Forest: I was excited to see a piece explaining why these two developments diverged so much, then disappointed to realize there was no “why” there.

  • why would someone making under $17/hr be renting a 2 br apartment? When I was single i made $10/hr and lived like a king in the East End. Didnt have a guest bedroom though, shucks!

  • Local option canvassers also confirmed that HEB is backing the effort, with an eye on the former Fiesta site at 23rd & Shepherd. In addition to the Heights, this site will also serve Shady Acres, Timbergrove, Garden Oaks, and Oak Forest, which may be inconveniently far from the Washington & Waugh site.

  • Where exactly is HEB trying to shove their store down the throats of Heights residents within the dry area? Have they come out and said exactly the location that they want to build on? Don’t they already have a HEB on TC Jester? Kroger on 11th, 20th and Stude? Why the urgency to try and locate in a area that is dry when there are so many other places a few blocks away where it is legal? Why not tell HEB to build there? Why did HEB have to be outed before they admitted being behind the campaign? I don’t get this at all and something doesn’t smell right.

  • So HEB is building a store at Studemont and Washington (http://swamplot.com/yes-h-e-b-is-really-talking-about-a-new-store-at-studemont-and-washington-ave/2016-03-16/) and now they want to build in the Heights Dry Area (https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1uJlMyFxgFYN0muJCZmaozfyreuI&hl=en_US). What parcels of land in the Heights Dry Area fit the HEB 3-6 acre requirement?

  • They’re looking at the Fiesta on 23rd & Shepherd. My guess is multiple stories for parking and groceries since the space is smaller than they’d like. They’re not going to find 6 acres anywhere in the Heights. This is the best option.

    I encourage everyone living in the Heights to head to Coltivare, Revival and 8 Flint Row and sign the petition. Kroger has had this coming for awhile and has been complacent. Too much money here to have to drive 10-15 minutes for a decent grocery store.

  • Oh… those HEB villains forcing their store down our throats. I’m sure their plain is to give out jello shots and vodka watermelons out to schoolchildren. I bet there’s going to be a liquor drive through for the school buses. The Heights is surely on the superhighway to perdition now. Nothing can save us from their unmitigated evil, except maybe some valiant NIMBY’s with a beautiful vision of an eternal neighborhood, never changing through the sands of time! They can take our Fiesta, but they can never take away our empty lot!

  • rather than raising minimum wage (which is inflationary and will just push the price of everything up), why not go ahead and make enough affordable housing?


    It’s so crazy how the entrenched 60+ crowd in the heights just hates the fact that people want to buy beer.

  • The dry area has served the Heights very well. It made a huge difference holding together the core of the Heights while areas on the peripheries got dotted with some very unsavory ice houses and bars. When the gentrification pedal went to the metal, the neighborhood was spared an influx of Washington Ave style bars and clubs. Instead, the restaurants that moved in were those that were seriously committed to the neighborhood and brought a quality product (Down House, Harold’s, Shade, Southern Goods, etc.).
    I like HEB as much as the next guy, but they have had their shot at a number of spots in the Heights and never made the neighborhood a priority. I see no reason to weaken the dry areas just to help them get into the Heights. It will just set the precedent for an effort to repeal the dry areas altogether (it is no coincidence that you can sign the petition at 8 Row Flint).

  • Golf clap to Old School. Could not have said it better myself. There are also a few on Nextdoor giving their two cents in favor of lifting the ban yet they are failing to say that they too would benefit from the repeal. Keep it in place and “save the core” of the Heights.

  • @Old School,

    If this local option (to sell beer and wine for off-premise construction) passes, further amending the rules to allow liquor sales or sales for on-premise consumption will be HARDER, not easier. While a lot of people want a decent grocery store, a lot fewer people are enthusiastic about an influx of bars and liquor stores. If the intent were to get a blanket repeal of prohibition in the Heights, the best way would be to dangle the possibility of an HEB (the dream of many a Heights resident) to get support for a full repeal election. I don’t believe getting subsequent support for adding liquor or on-premise sales would get a majority in the Heights.

    Further, if the Fiesta site becomes apartments instead of a grocery store, that would further shift the demographics of the local option electorate from 40-something breeders to 20-something singles who are much more likely to vote for full repeal. The best way to keep partial prohibition for the next 50 years is support partial repeal now.

    Also, Revival Market has not been secretive about their desire to be able to sell beer and wine to their grocery customers, and I think they’d do an excellent job of curating an interesting selection. This petition would not affect the license status of their sister establishments 8 Row Flint or Coltivare, both of which operate as private clubs.

  • I hope the Heights residents are happy that TABC doesn’t go after all these ‘private clubs’ serving alcohol, if the ‘quality product’ restaurants couldn’t serve alcohol this ban would get repealed in a heartbeat, allowing any sort of bar. I don’t think any current restaurant actually follows the private club rules about membership cards, number of guests, registration, etc..

    Because they can have nice restaurants they pretend like they can remain ‘dry’ forever. Get real people.

  • This is ridiculous. There’s not a single decent grocery store (yeah I have high expectations), in the area. Yes, Kroger is sufficient. I can buy food there. But why not demand more for our dollars? We are willing to spend more than enough money to support solid local restaurants and businesses, but apparently desiring an HEB that actually makes grocery shopping an experience rather than a chore is a bridge too far? To think that would make someone either a glutton for punishment or obtusely unaware. Furthermore, it’s not like this is going to start making people funnel liquor and wander the streets of the dry zone in some sort of “The Purge” kind of haze. While I would imagine that maybe the area will see an uptick in growth, it very well should! For crying out loud It’s like four miles from the city center of the fourth/third largest city in the nation, and yet we’re opting for used car lots and pawn shops instead of something actually nice? Get it together Houston, and start acting like a real city.

  • The Heights is just the name of another neighborhood in Houston now, not a “City” within itself. No reason it shouldn’t be subject to the same laws and regulations as everyone else.

  • @angostura: Revival no longer resembles anything close to a grocery store. They have a meat counter and a small wall of dry goods. There isn’t enough room in that store for a beer and wine cooler. I suspect that hospitality interests in the Heights see a possible workaround for beer and wine sales in the dry zone. Open up a restaurant with a carry out wine/beer package store right next door. Patrons at the restaurant just get up after ordering dinner and go next door to buy a bottle of wine or six of beer. Restaurant operates as BYOB and takes a corkage fee. That is how La Vista works except that the liquor store next door is not owned by the restaurant.

    This petition effort is really a dry run (no pun intended) for a vote to pull down the entire dry zone. If the developers and hospitality biz folks see that HEB was able to round up enough signatures and win an election, they will certainly take a shot at doing the same to repeal the dry zone. But if they fail, those interested in repealing the dry zone won’t waste their time. It doesn’t matter how many 20somethings you can stuff in apartments in the Heights. The vast majority of residents are property owners who are wary to see one of the few land use restrictions we have go away.

  • Why don’t they fix up and add on to the HEB on TC Jester and 20th area? That has a huge parking lot and is under developed and nobody has to worry about the dry law. Correct?

  • We own rental property in the Heights…. used to live there back when it was ghetto by todays standards…… I’m honestly surprised some people can actually afford to still live there based on the massive tax value increase in just the past 5 years let alone the past 40 when bungalows were going for 30k with 20% interest on a 30 year note………. and get THIS realtor fee percentages are STILL THE SAME!!!!!

  • @LovetheHEB I think the primary reason HEB won’t just renovate the TC Jester location is it sits on a small lot (min lot required is 3-6 acres). HEB really wants to compete with the other Heights grocers, and this location is just too small to expand. Great idea though. I imagine HEB will shut down TC Jester regardless – that location must be bleeding $$.

  • @OldSchool,
    Sounds like a bizarre conspiracy theory.
    So, instead of operating under a private club license, where they can sell mixed beverages, wine by the glass and beer on tap, in addition to beer and wine by the bottle, all at typical restaurant pour costs, restaurants will operate BYO, with a package store next door selling at retail markups? First, that seems economically foolish. Second, I don’t think I’d mind.
    With respect to this being a dry run, why give up the best argument in favor of repeal? Judging by HAIF, NextDoor and Swamplot commenters, a very high percentage of Heights residents would love to have an HEB in the neighborhood, and have for some time. Once beer and wine sales are legalized, a considerably smaller percentage of voters would favor ADDITIONAL relaxation of the rules to allow liquor stores and bars. If someone REALLY wanted full repeal, now would be the time to try, using HEB as the carrot.
    Maybe, just maybe, this petition actually exactly what it appears: a move to relax the rules to allow a nice grocery store, not the first part of a 20-year plan to turn the Heights into Branson, MO.

  • “I hope the Heights residents are happy that TABC doesn’t go after all these ‘private clubs’ serving alcohol, if the ‘quality product’ restaurants couldn’t serve alcohol this ban would get repealed in a heartbeat, allowing any sort of bar. I don’t think any current restaurant actually follows the private club rules about membership cards, number of guests, registration, etc..”
    Dag, all it takes it people calling the TABC tip line to report a violation. You can do this anonymously. the Houston office phone number is (713) 426-7900.
    they will investigate. If they find them in violation they will be warned, and after enough warnings, they will eventually be fined.

  • I don’t understand the HEB love. HEB is just another grocery store. Some of their stuff is better than others, some is worse. I see no qualitative difference between HEB and Kroger.
    Maybe y’all just don’t visit the old dirty HEBs, and associated HEB with “clean new grocery store”?

  • Will retailers on, say 19th, be able have a cooler with some Colt 45 and Thunderbird for carry out? How about the Sunny’s on Heights Blvd? Recent residents have not experienced the downside of immediate access to alcohol, as is the case in Rice Military. I know a homeowner who was tempted to shoot drunk revelers out of the trees on his lot; he didn’t, but of course called the police. Then there are those who complain about the train noise and/or the freeway noise, and, of course having to make a short drive to obtain beer, wine and alcohol. Answer: move away, or join a 12-step program. Agree, outing big money interests was a bit too hard and there is the more than likely motive of a test run for total repeal of the Heights dry area. When these recent residents tire of the trains, freeways, and find out, omg, the schools are very very diverse, they will abandon the Heights for the ‘burbs.

  • @memebag. I don’t see a big difference between the train wreck of a store, the Kroger on 20th at Yale, with the train wreck of a store, the HEB on West 18th. Does that help ? Both are sub par, and I’m loath and hesitant to patronize either one. One of the last times I shopped at the 20th St. Kroger, I watched a man literally crap his pants (unfortunately, they were shorts) 30′ front the entry door, only to casually turn around and return to whence he came.

    @DarbyMom. There’s no shortage of retail outlets for liquor in the immediate area. Are you unaware of the alcohol outlet on 11th across from Berryhill ? Who cares if a sandwich shop on 19th sells a cold beer – it’s highly unlikely they’ll be selling Olde English 800s or $2 wine.

  • I believe in keeping neighborhoods intact. Though I don’t live there, I think Dry Heights should stay dry. Then market itself to recovering alcoholics (I am not kidding.)
    Future change should arise from the citizenry living there – not from a business, or business bloc.
    Many years back, Randall’s sold no alcohol. It was my local store and I hated having to make the extra stop at a liquor store to get beer or wine (there was alway a liquor store right next door to a Randall’s.) I was happy when they caved in to selling beer and wine ‘in order to be profitable’ because it was just so much easier!
    I have no idea whether a higher percentage of dry-Heights folks are sober, but, I know from experience that a grocery that sells alcohol is very tricky and stressful for a recovering alcoholic. Better not to have the intersection of what you need and what you want to avoid.