San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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January 13th, 2008
Effort to relax alcohol restrictions gets first test with former mayor’s Mexican restaurant

By BRAD ROLLINS
Managing Editor

This week, David Chiu finally got the conditional use permit he needed to sell alcohol at his new Hunter Road restaurant.

Eight months after the planning and zoning commission first considered the issue, the former mayor on Monday won a variance from a city development ordinance that prohibits restaurants that open within 300 feet of an existing school or church from serving alcohol. A code amendment approved in November provides for certain exceptions.

Tres Hermanas Restaurant will anchor Chiu’s Plaza del Sol mixed-use development at 2550 Hunter Road, adjoining the Doris Miller Junior High campus on Foxtail Run. The 6,270-square-foot center currently under construction will include three restaurants totaling Planned for 280 seats, retail/office lease space and four loft apartments.

Chiu’s application for a permit to serve beer, wine and mixed drinks at the Mexican restaurant set off an effort to rewrite the ordinance to allow for exceptions when management of the affected school or church does not object.

In September, the city council approved a change to the land development code that authorizes the city council to over-ride the 300-foot distance requirement if the business

  • is at least 200 feet from the school or church, measured primary entrance to primary entrance;
  • limits its alcohol sales to less than 25 percent of gross revenue; and
  • obtains a letter from the school or church’s governing board agreeing to the restaurant based on “operational characteristics” such as hours.

At a hearing on Monday, and at a planning and zoning commission meeting in November, Chiu provided a letter from Judy Allen, the San Marcos school district board president, agreeing to the restaurant’s operation.

The permit must be renewed yearly.

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