A recent uprising of Dallas residents resisting the inevitable change that comes with living close to a growing city has given some city council members the ammo they need to suggest requiring bars apply for permits to be able to stay open after midnight.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, consumers in the Dallas metro area spend more on alcohol than consumers in any other city in the United States. Many of the most popular watering holes are located in growing entertainment districts juxtaposed to older residential areas. Some residents are in an uproar over the growth and expansion of nearby entertainment districts and want to see the operating hours of bars near residential areas restricted.
The new rules would allow the city to create a new “Late Hours Overlay” over certain zones, and require bars in those areas that wish to stay open after midnight to apply for a “Specific Use Permit” (SUP). City council would then have the ability to approve or deny the SUP. Bars would need to reapply for the SUP as the permit expires.
City Council would be able to deny permits for various reasons including the following:
This gives Dallas City Council full authority to deny permits to new or existing bars whether they are applying for the first time or are renewing.
This gives the current City Council (or future members) a powerful rubber stamp to discriminate.
The problem with this ordinance is that according to the language, if at any time it becomes an agenda item for conservative members of Dallas City Council, they could decide to deny permits to LGBT bars or to predominantly minority bars simply because they aren’t “compatible” with the surrounding area. For example, if a neighborhood believes a predominately minority bar affects property values, City Council could argue that the bar does not “enhance” the “adjacent properties”. This gives the current City Council (or future members) a powerful rubber stamp to discriminate.
The Zoning Commission will vote on the ordinance Thursday at 9 am. If it passes there, it will move on to planning and then to a final City Council vote.
If you would like to read the proposed language of the ordinance, you can download a copy here. If you live in Dallas, please contact your councilperson and let them know you do not support this loophole for discrimination.