City Of Dallas Zoning Commission Considers Midnight ‘Curfew’ For Bars

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Imposing a so-called “bar curfew,” a new proposal in Dallas could force some late-night spots to close a few hours early.

The late hours overlay would allow, if a neighborhood chooses, to define geographical boundaries in various entertainment districts. Businesses within those boundaries would have to apply for a special use permit to stay open past midnight.

The proposal comes in reaction to bigger crowds filing down the streets along McKinney Avenue.

“You’re talking about thousands of dollars of revenue,” said Brian McCullough, co-owner of The Standard Pour in Uptown.

McCullough is worried about the idea of possibly losing two hours if the overlay was approved and his request for a SUP was not approved.

“It sort of feels like somebody telling you what to do with your business,” said McCullough.

The amendment would only allow the creation of the geographical boundaries if stakeholders in the area deemed it necessary.

“Having to go through another approval process doesn’t necessarily guarantee a ‘no,’ ” said McCullough. “But it also doesn’t guarantee a ‘yes,’ and that certainly raises concerns.”

Council member Philip Kingston, who is pushing for the amendment, said the overlay is not a curfew. He views it as a “tool” certain neighborhood could choose to utilize.

Kingston points to the successes of Lower Greenville. The entertainment district currently has a similar process for businesses wishing to stay open past midnight.

“If you don’t open up all of the zoning, if you’re only talking about late-hours use, then it becomes a very fine-edged tool,” said Kingston. “It’s a scalpel instead of a chainsaw.”

The council member, who represents District 14, insists it is illegal under Texas law to force all bars to close a 12 a.m.

“All this is, is enabling legislation,” said Kingston. “This doesn’t change any zoning on the ground.”

McCullough said he wants to see a safe environment too and feels just as invested as those who call the area near his bar home.

“I don’t see it necessary but I do understand the concerns,” said McCullough.

Kingston said the amendment has many steps to go before becoming a reality.

It first needs approval by a zoning committee, then a planning commission before getting the nod from Dallas City Council.

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