San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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August 17th, 2009
Confusion over permit almost delays downtown restaurant’s opening

by BRAD ROLLINS
Managing Editor

Some of downtown’s largest property owners ran up against the city of San Marcos’ multi-layered system for regulating alcohol sales when they went before the planning and zoning commission last week seeking a permit they need to open a restaurant and bar.

Dennis and Dawna Figol, who own interest in historic buildings on three of four corners of the courthouse square, are majority owners in the Newton Gang’s Hideway restaurant and bar scheduled to open Monday in the Old State Bank Building, 100 W. Hopkins St.

Before the establishment could open, its owners needed to renew a conditional use permit for on-premise alcohol consumption previously issued in the name of the defunct Hill Country Grill’s owners, who leased a portion of the building’s first floor from New Braunfels-based Global Rock Investments LLC in which the Figols are partners. Staff recommended the renewal and it went before the planning and zoning commission last week for a vote.

But several commissioners questioned whether a conditional use permit could simply be renewed since the owner of the establishment to which it was originally issued is changing. The applicant for the renewal is longtime San Marcos resident and restauranteur Gary Moore.

“I’m not trying to be difficult but we have a special case CUP and every indication I have is that it is issued to an applicant, not a building,” said planning and zoning commissioner Curtis Seebeck.

Commissioner Allen Shy, who owns interest in three downtown bars, said it was his understanding that conditional use permits are issued to an address, not a business, and are transferable to the new occupants of a building.

The commission eventually voted 7-0 to grant a provisional renewal for 60 days until city staff can say definitively how the permit system is supposed to work.

Built in 1892, the bank was robbed by Texas outlaws the Newton brothers in 1924 and used in the 1970s for the set of The Getaway starring Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw.

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3 thoughts on “Confusion over permit almost delays downtown restaurant’s opening

  1. Isn’t Allen Shy a tenant of the Figols? Is it legal for him to be arguing for them as a P&Z commissioner!?!

  2. Perhaps P&Z is confusing conditional use permits with TABC licenses (which they do not issue). They didn’t seem to have an issue earlier this year – or did they?
    See article below which I pilfered from this site:

    From San Marcos Mercury July 18, 2009:

    Downtown businessman Allen Shy this month closed his purchase of Harper’s Hall, the oldest building on San Marcos’ courthouse square.

    Benjamin Mark Brown closed his Draft Choice bar April 1 after being charged by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission with operating under a liquor license issued to the bar’s previous owner, Andrew Gregory Harkin. Brown faces a federal third-degree felony charge of falsifying a government document for allegedly trying to renew his state permit using Harkin’s name.

    Along with Harper’s Hall, Shy acquired another of only 12 conditional use permits to operate bars in the central business district, a restriction designed to maintain a balance between daytime and night life businesses.

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