LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Nearly three months after voters approved alcohol sales inside city limits, a second delay. This time, two protests filed against all alcohol sales inside the city of Lubbock.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) says the protests are filed against any permit application inside city limits. Typically protests are filed against an individual store, and officials say this may be the first protest of its kind.
"There are two steps when someone files a protest. If (TABC) is going to join the protest and if there is enough evidence for a hearing. We aren't there yet, not at the 1st or 2nd step. We are at decision zero which is how to handle this," says TABC spokeswoman Carolyn Beck by phone from Austin. She says the protests filed with the Lubbock TABC branch are now in Austin with the commission's legal team.
Sources say the basis for the protest dates back to an opinion the attorney general wrote about a recent alcohol election in Brazoria County. Lubbock County Civil Attorney John Grace addressed the issue back in May and says the 2008 opinion doesn't address the 2009 vote. "We respect the attorney general and his opinion. We think that the opinion he issued dealt with specific facts in Brazoria County and these facts aren't the same as what we're looking at here. We're confident that the opinion of our office should actually prevent any kind of litigation down the road," says Grace
"I don't know how the attorney general's opinion will play into this or whether it will require a hearing in front of a judge," says Beck. She adds that anyone can file a protest. "Once a community has voted wet and if there aren't any local ordinances prohibiting the locations from being at a certain place just saying I don't like it is not enough," she says.
Beck says that often times it is easier to protest when the commission is looking at renewing an existing alcohol permit rather than looking at a brand new location that has no history of selling alcohol.
TABC says if the protests had not been filed, and a store received a zoning permit from the city Monday, signed by the all of the right city and county authorities it would take TABC a couple of weeks to process the application. TABC officials they don't know how long the protests will delay the process for permit-seekers.
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