5 Jun

Last night the City Planing and Zoning Comission voted 8-0 on new zoning restrictions. In large shopping centers the stores can be any size they want. In other locations they will be limited to 8,750 sq.ft. which is up from the original 3,000. I’m fine with these changes and I think most people will be as well.

The problem I have is with City Hall. Who exactly screwed this thing up? According to Thursday’s AJ, the owner of Pinkies went to Mayor Tom Martin in DECEMBER, EARLY DECEMBER, about this very issue. Martin got ticked and it seems like he refused to sit down at the table with Pinkies. Here’s part of the AJ’s story:

But Majestic Liquor Stores Inc. and Pinkie’s Inc. argued Lubbock violated state laws by setting stricter rules for businesses that sold alcohol than Texas allows.
Pinkie’s representatives said as much in early December, when the city gave final passage to the ordinance and the retailer warned they could “challenge” the size requirements council members eventually passed for the predominant retail zone throughout the city.
The warning frustrated Mayor Tom Martin, who opposed allowing the city’s ordinances on alcohol to fall apart like building restrictions in North Overton before the modern redevelopment project.
“I’m sick of this,” Martin said. “Somebody’s been going around trying to lobby for the whiskey zoning all over town, like we need to have it on every street corner.

That last quote sounds like something a member of TAAS would say, but remember the Mayor didn’t take a side. If Pinkies went to the Mayor in December about this very issue, why did he not listen? This could have been settled long before the election.

Now, lets take a look at what Randy Henson, the chief planner has to say about the Law in the AJ today. Remember the comission passed the new zoning last night.

Package stores could not compete in the same areas as grocery stores, which can soon legally sell beer and wine, under the ordinances, Majestic Liquor Stores Inc. and Pinkie’s Liquor argued in a lawsuit seeking the order.
The retailers’ filing also opposed size restrictions placed on alcohol stores not imposed on other businesses.
City attorneys agreed the objection had merit and will spend the summer changing their ordinances to comply with Texas law.

“It’s about the clearest piece of state law I have ever seen,” Henson said.

So it’s clear today, but in December it wasn’t? If it’s so clear then why did the planing and zoning comission and the City Council BOTH pass these regulations? Why did the Council pass something that was against the law?

I also don’t like the fact that the Mayor seems to be inviting lawsuits over this issue. Remember folks, if the City is sued, then YOUR tax dollars will be used. Shouldn’t the Mayor be saying that this is it and should result in NO lawsuits? It seems like everytime a mic is put in front of him lately he talks about “possible lawsuits”. This from KCBD:

Mayor Tom Martin says regardless of what the council decides there’s nothing stopping anyone from filing a lawsuit. “Whatever the council decides still could be challenged by this group of plaintiffs or any other group of plaintiffs. Hate to say it but, it’s almost a never ending battle because anyone who feels a grief can go pay their few dollars to file a suit. There is no magic bullet,” says Mayor Martin.

Mr. Mayor, many cities have gone through this and they can do it without lawsuits and without their Mayor thinking there might possible be a lawsuit. Why can’t Lubbock?

Someone is to blame for this issue continuing and the longer it takes, the worse it looks for City Hall. So who is to blame? I’m not sure exactly who and maybe (probably) there is more than one person to blame. Could it be that someone is deliberately holding up the process because of their own personal views on alcohol sales?

Another question to ask is, if the Council and Zoning comission folks knowingly voted on zoning that was against the law which meant putting a hold on the process, should they still be around?

Just a few things to think about. Leave your comments.


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