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Commission rejects pool hall’s request for cocktail lounge zoning

Friday, December 5, 2008 by Austin Monitor

The Planning Commission last week rejected a zoning change for a pool hall on Manor Road in East Austin. The Rey de Bastos establishment is licensed as a restaurant, but has been cited by the city because a majority of its revenues does not come from food service.

 

“My client took over this property from his family,” said agent Segura Lujano, “He has run a pool salon with beer sales. Obviously, he was not aware that he had to get CS-1 zoning. He was cited by code enforcement that he had to demonstrate that his food sales were in excess of 51 percent of his sales.”

 

Lujano said the owner had added items to the menu and increased the number of tables in the restaurant in an attempt to boost food sales to the required level, but had so far been unsuccessful. To allow the business to continue to operate, the owner requested a zoning change from GR, which allows a restaurant, to CS-1, which allows a bar. “What we want to do here is try to make the use that my client has in place to be fully compliant with city codes,” Lujano said.

 

Neighbors protested, telling the commission that while the location was right for a restaurant, a bar would not be appropriate for the site. “I’ve gotten a lot of complaints from the neighbors about the music, the club being open pretty much all night,” said Dwayne Lofton, president of the Pecan Springs Neighborhood Association. “This property is zoned as a restaurant, although the property owner is using it as a bar. We don’t believe that is appropriate for the area. We have some concern, due to other activity around it, and we feel like adding more problems are not beneficial to the neighborhood.”

 

The neighborhood association’s incoming vice president, Rick Cofer, joined Lofton. “We do not feel that a bar in that location is a good fit with our neighborhood,” Cofer said. “We would love to see a good restaurant there that the neighborhood could enjoy. That’s not the case now.”

 

The commission unanimously voted to reject the requested zoning change. City staff had also recommended against CS-1 for the property. The owner does have the option to take his request on to the City Council.

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