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Heightsfamily

Keep The Heights Dry Political Action Committee

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I had seen the yard signs but could not find out much more until this morning's article on Swamplot. I think they present a good clear case for voting against liquor sales in the Heights and you can easily find out if you are eligible to vote on the proposition. And they will give you a yard sign if you want one!

 

http://swamplot.com/swamplot-sponsor-keep-the-heights-dry/2016-10-20/

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Just so you know the proposition does not allow liquor sales.  

 

Proposition 1 would allow the legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption only in an area where it’s currently not allowed — the “dry Heights.”

 

The purpose of the proposition is to change the law to allow grocery stores to sell beer and wine.  Kroger would have incentives to improve their store on 20th and HEB has said they would move into the old Fiesta spot off 23rd and Shepherd.

 

Also, so everyone can have all the facts here is the link for advocacy group who support the ballot measure. http://www.heightswins.com/index.html

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38 minutes ago, HouHeightsGuy said:

 

 

The purpose of the proposition is to change the law to allow grocery stores to sell beer and wine.  Kroger would have incentives to improve their store on 20th and HEB has said they would move into the old Fiesta spot off 23rd and Shepherd.

 

Just so you know, the change in the law is not limited to grocery stores.  Anyone who obtains a permit can sell beer and wine for off premises consumption.  That would include CVS, Walgreens, convenience stores and beer and wine only package stores.  It could also potentially offer a work around for the club permit.  Joe's Burgers could have a beer and wine counter in a separate room of the same building and sell beer and wine to take next door to drink with your burger.  Texas allows sale of single servings of beer.  So, this is a very real possibility.  

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2 hours ago, s3mh said:

the change in the law is not limited to grocery stores.  Anyone who obtains a permit can sell beer and wine for off premises consumption.  That would include CVS, Walgreens, convenience stores and beer and wine only package stores. 

This is true. I was trying to say that the proposition is not going to allow businesses to sell liquor and would not change anything with restaurants or bars (which currently have a way to sell alcohol with the club permit system).

 

I know that the main focus of the proposition is for a grocery store and that was the reason I mentioned it.

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Apologies! That was a mis-statement on my part. I should have been clearer as I know it is limited to beer and wine. That being said, it is not what exactly is being sold that us the issue for me. It is the prospect of stores that may negatively disrupt the neighborhood as I enjoy it. Furthermore I can easily hit the 11th street Kroger or Kim's Liqours if I need something - less than a five minute drive or a stop on my way home. Major grocery chains have shown little love to the Heights so I plan my grocery shopping around that as well. Glad the issue is getting notice in any case. 

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I don't live in the Heights but have always been confused about the "keep it dry" argument. The rest of Houston doesn't have a problem, yet the Heights acts like a problem will be introduced by allowing sales. I live in Braeswood, and we're not overrun by shady corner stores.

 

Also, don't try to say "oh it's keeping our neighborhood unique and special"... no, it's not. Your neighborhood is like any other older hood already, just consumed by Victorian themed townhomes. Midtown, East Downtown, that pocket of 6th ward off Washington, even Galveston... those are some unique places... and they aren't dry.

 

Again, I could care less how the vote goes since I never go to the Heights anymore, but I really find this debate strange like we're still in the prohibition era.

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"Liquor", as seemingly innocuous as the word may be, will be a frequently-dropped buzzword in this campaign. I really can justify voting either way, but I certainly recommend folks do so armed with facts. 

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20 hours ago, Heightsfamily said:

Apologies! That was a mis-statement on my part. I should have been clearer as I know it is limited to beer and wine. That being said, it is not what exactly is being sold that us the issue for me. It is the prospect of stores that may negatively disrupt the neighborhood as I enjoy it. Furthermore I can easily hit the 11th street Kroger or Kim's Liqours if I need something - less than a five minute drive or a stop on my way home. Major grocery chains have shown little love to the Heights so I plan my grocery shopping around that as well. Glad the issue is getting notice in any case. 

So NIMBYism

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First off, the referendum isn't even about going wet, it's about going damp - beer and wine only, off premise only.  In other words, allowing the grocery and convenience stores to have the same stock that they can have less than a mile east or west.  Second, the on premise / liquor ship sailed some time ago with the not particularly exclusive "private clubs." Finally, the thoroughly wet rest of the Heights is hardly a hotbed of winos sleeping on lawns, etc., etc. - I should know, I've lived in the wet Heights since it was still a kinda sketchy neighborhood.

 

The dry argument sounds a whole lot like an analogue of "a taco truck on every corner!!!"  Or this.

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On 10/21/2016 at 11:52 AM, s3mh said:

Just so you know, the change in the law is not limited to grocery stores.  Anyone who obtains a permit can sell beer and wine for off premises consumption.  That would include CVS, Walgreens, convenience stores and beer and wine only package stores.  It could also potentially offer a work around for the club permit.  Joe's Burgers could have a beer and wine counter in a separate room of the same building and sell beer and wine to take next door to drink with your burger.  Texas allows sale of single servings of beer.  So, this is a very real possibility.  

 

From what I understand, the CVS and Walgreen's on 20th run afoul of the 300-ft rule due to their proximity to Hamilton Middle School, and therefore would not be eligible to receive a beer and wine permit.

 

With respect to the private club work-around: First, so what? Second: doubt it. For this to work, the restaurant would have to be BYOB, which means you could bring your beer and wine from anywhere, not just the retailer next door, which means that the retail operation would have to operate at pretty close to normal retail markups. It's far more profitable to operate under a private club license and sell alcohol at typical restaurant markups.

 

Finally, "beer and wine only package stores" are not a thing that exists. Alcohol retailers in Texas have two choices: operate beer and wine only and sell from 7AM to midnight 6 days a week, and noon to midnight on Sunday, or sell everything and only open from 10AM to 9PM, 6 days a week. I know of no specialty alcohol retailers who have chosen the former. The only thing that comes close is Premium Draught, which sells growlers. I don't believe they are considered a blight on their neighborhood.

 

Yes, I'd like an HEB in the neighborhood, but it'd also be nice to pick up a 6-pack at Sunny's at the same time I pick up my pizza at Pink's. In fact, in the 21st century, it's kind of insane that I can't.

 

 

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On 10/21/2016 at 2:48 PM, Heightsfamily said:

Major grocery chains have shown little love to the Heights... 

 

I wonder what the reason could be for that?

 

The Heights has been clamoring for an HEB for years. Scott McClelland acknowledged as much in an interview in the Leader:

 

Quote

“Over the last five years I’ve probably gotten more requests for a store in the Heights than anywhere else in Houston,”

 

There is a paucity of good-sized parcels of land in the Heights. Even though this site it smaller than they would typically prefer, they've shown a willingness to design a store that makes the most of the available space by building the store above parking, limiting the area devoted to surface parking. This is considerably more expensive than building a typical suburban style store.

 

So HEB is essentially saying this:

 

Quote

You've been asking us for years to open a store in your neighborhood. We've finally found an appropriate site to do just that. It's a site that has been a grocery store in the past, so we're not displacing anyone, or imposing a new land use on an existing area. We're excited to make this investment, but due to the unique nature of the Heights, we have to ask you to meet us part-way.

 

Grocery retailing is a difficult, competitive business, with notoriously low margins. In order to compete with nearby stores, we have to be able to sell beer and wine to be profitable. So, at our expense, we organized a petition to place a local option election on your November ballot in order to allow us to obtain a beer and wine permit for this location.

 

As much as we'd like to limit the impact to our own site, Texas law doesn't allow that. Local option elections must be conducted based on established jurisdictional boundaries, in this case the area formerly known as the City of Houston Heights. Texas law offers several types of local option elections, up to full permission for all types of beverages for both on-premise and off-premise consumption. We have chosen to support the most restrictive of these options: permitting the sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption only, even though this puts us at some disadvantage with respect to our competition (nearby Whole Foods and Kroger stores both sell beer and wine for on-premise consumption). We hope to gain the neighborhood's support on this referendum so that we can bring you more and better options for your grocery needs.

 

 

 

 

 

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On 10/21/2016 at 9:18 PM, brian0123 said:

I don't live in the Heights but have always been confused about the "keep it dry" argument. The rest of Houston doesn't have a problem, yet the Heights acts like a problem will be introduced by allowing sales. I live in Braeswood, and we're not overrun by shady corner stores.

 

You actually prove the point that the "vote no" people are making by citing Braeswood.  That neighborhood is deed restricted and still has the original design where residential development is segregated from commercial/retail.  The Heights was designed much more for traveling by trolley and foot than by automobile and has commercial corridors mixed right in with residential streets.  That is a good thing except that there are no deed restrictions.  Anyone can build anything anywhere subject only to the historic ordinance in some spots and the dry restrictions in others.  If HEB came to Braeswood residents and asked them to give up their deed restrictions in order to put in a fancy new grocery store, people in your neighborhood would completely lose it.  

Also, the Heights is a neighborhood that is a destination for the rest of the city.  People come to the Heights from all over the city to shop, eat and just hang out.  We are under much more retail redevelopment pressure than the bedroom communities of SW Houston.  Given the lack of land use restrictions and the fact that everyone is eyeing the neighborhood for developing another restaurant or bar, many residents are not willing to give up the very small protections that we have.  If we had deed restrictions like Braeswood, this would not even be an issue.

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On 10/22/2016 at 2:48 PM, mollusk said:

  Second, the on premise / liquor ship sailed some time ago with the not particularly exclusive "private clubs." 

 

 

Do not underestimate the the private club requirements.  First, two recent private club attempts were defeated by residents' protests.  The grounds for protesting a private club license are much more broad than a regular TABC license because the private club license requires things like adequate parking.  Second, applying for and maintaining the private club license is a pain.  It has deterred a lot of people from opening in the Heights, especially the more bar oriented businesses.  

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2 hours ago, Angostura said:

 

From what I understand, the CVS and Walgreen's on 20th run afoul of the 300-ft rule due to their proximity to Hamilton Middle School, and therefore would not be eligible to receive a beer and wine permit.

 

With respect to the private club work-around: First, so what? Second: doubt it. For this to work, the restaurant would have to be BYOB, which means you could bring your beer and wine from anywhere, not just the retailer next door, which means that the retail operation would have to operate at pretty close to normal retail markups. It's far more profitable to operate under a private club license and sell alcohol at typical restaurant markups.

 

Finally, "beer and wine only package stores" are not a thing that exists. Alcohol retailers in Texas have two choices: operate beer and wine only and sell from 7AM to midnight 6 days a week, and noon to midnight on Sunday, or sell everything and only open from 10AM to 9PM, 6 days a week. I know of no specialty alcohol retailers who have chosen the former. The only thing that comes close is Premium Draught, which sells growlers. I don't believe they are considered a blight on their neighborhood.

 

Yes, I'd like an HEB in the neighborhood, but it'd also be nice to pick up a 6-pack at Sunny's at the same time I pick up my pizza at Pink's. In fact, in the 21st century, it's kind of insane that I can't.

 

 

 

City council amended the local alcohol restrictions to exempt stores that are over 10k sq ft and derive less than 1/4 of their revenues from alcohol sales.  This was done in order to try to address food desert issues.  But it would allow CVS, Walgreens and Kroger to sell.  

 

The private club workaround issue may actually be the biggest risk.  Private club license is too much work for most.  And ask the liquor store next to La Vista whether they care that that restaurant is BYOB.  And don't forget those corkage fees.  

 

Beer and wine only package stores do exist: http://www.northoakcliffbeerandwine.com/index.html  Stores like this plus lots of BYOB places could work together to push Washington Ave creep into the heart of the Heights.  

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1 hour ago, Angostura said:

 

I wonder what the reason could be for that?

 

The Heights has been clamoring for an HEB for years. Scott McClelland acknowledged as much in an interview in the Leader:

 

 

There is a paucity of good-sized parcels of land in the Heights. Even though this site it smaller than they would typically prefer, they've shown a willingness to design a store that makes the most of the available space by building the store above parking, limiting the area devoted to surface parking. This is considerably more expensive than building a typical suburban style store.

 

So HEB is essentially saying this:

 

 

 

 

 

There is a paucity of good sized parcels of land in the Heights because HEB sat on its hands for the past ten years while everyone else moved in.  And HEB is essentially saying that they want to build a typical suburban store that will serve everyone from Lazybrook to Lindale and the Heights to GOOF because that is what is best for them.  What is best for the area are more smaller stores like the SoFlo store in San Antonio or what Whole Foods builds (multiple 30-40k sq ft stores).  That would mean shorter car trips and less traffic.  As planned, HEB will shut down W 18th and probably not venture north of 601, meaning that the proposed W 23rd location will serve 77018, 77007, 77008 and 77009.

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There are a couple other things that would limit the impact of going damp that haven't been addressed except by Brother McClelland.  The biggest is that pretty much any retailer isn't going to set up shop smack in the middle of a residential street - they are going to make a much better business case for being on a street that has a higher traffic count.  Another is the three historic districts that together cover a substantial part of the dry Heights, if for no other reason than the ability to hang a sign. 

 

Sure, this is ghoul season (on more than one level), so freaking out about things kinda comes with the territory - I even saw a "Keep the Heights Weird and Dry" sign in a front yard square in the middle of the very deed restricted (yet wet) Woodland Heights the other day.  Still, the wet parts of the Heights are not overrun by Beer Barns or winos snoozing on the lawn or whatever other evils supposedly get spawned by Demon Rum Brewski and Vino.

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52 minutes ago, s3mh said:

 

There is a paucity of good sized parcels of land in the Heights because HEB sat on its hands for the past ten years while everyone else moved in.  And HEB is essentially saying that they want to build a typical suburban store that will serve everyone from Lazybrook to Lindale and the Heights to GOOF because that is what is best for them.  What is best for the area are more smaller stores like the SoFlo store in San Antonio or what Whole Foods builds (multiple 30-40k sq ft stores).  That would mean shorter car trips and less traffic.  As planned, HEB will shut down W 18th and probably not venture north of 601, meaning that the proposed W 23rd location will serve 77018, 77007, 77008 and 77009.

 

 

Thanks for deciding what's best for the neighborhood, but I disagree. This store would be similar in size to the Montrose store, and that's exactly what I'd like to have in our neighborhood. 

 

I get that people still resent HEB for failing to outbid Walmart for the Yale St site, but it's time to move on. 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, s3mh said:

Stores like this plus lots of BYOB places could work together to push Washington Ave creep into the heart of the Heights.  

 

So what's the issue - the white O&G bros who hit the place up first, or the minorities who come in after it's not so hip anymore?

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1 hour ago, Angostura said:

 

 

Thanks for deciding what's best for the neighborhood, but I disagree. This store would be similar in size to the Montrose store, and that's exactly what I'd like to have in our neighborhood. 

 

I get that people still resent HEB for failing to outbid Walmart for the Yale St site, but it's time to move on. 

 

 

 

 

 

You ducked a lot of substance with little more than a crack about Walmart.  The Montrose store is an interesting point.  HEB is asking the neighborhood to give up something very substantial.  But what is HEB doing in return?  With the Montrose store, they went to Lake Flato for architecture, offered to dedicate park space (but the City did not meet them half way as it was too busy handing out favors to Walmart) and preserved as many trees as they could.  What is HEB doing for the Heights?  Nothing.  Design considerations?  Nothing.  Scale?  As big as they can get it (by the way, the Montrose store is a beast--how many boxes of Frosted Flakes do you need on a shelf anyway?) and on stilts instead of having a grounds level store fronting the street with structured parking in back (funny how your vigilance for set back follies has disappeared).  Central Market?  No.  In sum, the message from HEB is clear:  We really do not see anything special about the Heights and will dump a typical suburban store on stilts in your neighborhood if you give away some of your land use restrictions.  No thanks.

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1 hour ago, mollusk said:

There are a couple other things that would limit the impact of going damp that haven't been addressed except by Brother McClelland.  The biggest is that pretty much any retailer isn't going to set up shop smack in the middle of a residential street - they are going to make a much better business case for being on a street that has a higher traffic count.  Another is the three historic districts that together cover a substantial part of the dry Heights, if for no other reason than the ability to hang a sign. 

 

Sure, this is ghoul season (on more than one level), so freaking out about things kinda comes with the territory - I even saw a "Keep the Heights Weird and Dry" sign in a front yard square in the middle of the very deed restricted (yet wet) Woodland Heights the other day.  Still, the wet parts of the Heights are not overrun by Beer Barns or winos snoozing on the lawn or whatever other evils supposedly get spawned by Demon Rum Brewski and Vino.

Our retail areas are smack dab in the middle of residential areas and, with the case of Heights Blvd, very much mixed together with residential.  The historic district do help limit who comes in to the neighborhood, but more will look to put in retail with easier alcohol restrictions.  I would rather keep things in check as best we can than take a risk just to get another grocery store in an area that is already served by three Krogers, Sprouts, Whole Foods, HEB and Walmart.  

 

And things in the wet parts of the Heights are not so wonderful.  Hang out on White Oak and Studewood on Friday night.  

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1 hour ago, s3mh said:

Our retail areas are smack dab in the middle of residential areas and, with the case of Heights Blvd, very much mixed together with residential.  The historic district do help limit who comes in to the neighborhood, but more will look to put in retail with easier alcohol restrictions.  I would rather keep things in check as best we can than take a risk just to get another grocery store in an area that is already served by three Krogers, Sprouts, Whole Foods, HEB and Walmart.  

 

And things in the wet parts of the Heights are not so wonderful.  Hang out on White Oak and Studewood on Friday night.  

 

So what examples of new "retail with easier alcohol restrictions" have we seen outside of the dry zone? The Heights has had the largest influx of development in its history these past 10 years so we should have seen examples of this in the vast area of the Heights that have no dry laws.

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17 minutes ago, bedmondson said:

 

So what examples of new "retail with easier alcohol restrictions" have we seen outside of the dry zone? The Heights has had the largest influx of development in its history these past 10 years so we should have seen examples of this in the vast area of the Heights that have no dry laws.

The main issue is with over saturation of restaurants and bars that reach a Washington Ave critical mass.  The beer and wine place I linked to above in Oak Cliff is an example of how looser laws can push people into the neighborhood to open more and more places to go and drink.  When these pile up like they have on White Oak, they get to be a problem.  Without deed restrictions, no where in the Heights is immune.  The dry area is the only defense at this point.

And to answer the question there have been a lot of bars opening in the "wet" areas of the Heights and many more would be in the dry area.  A compromise carry out law will push more people to try to open BYOB/carry out places.  Lots of places to drink have opened in the past ten years in the wet areas:

 

Public House

Christian's Tailgate

Canard 

Lei Low

Johnny's Gold Brick

D&T Drive Inn

Town in City Brewery

Lucky's

Little Woodrow's

Cedar Creek

Big Star 

The Boot

Crisp

Warehouse Bar

Providence

Coming soon:

Heights Bier Garden

Wooster's Annex

The real bier garden from Pearland

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, s3mh said:

The main issue is with over saturation of restaurants and bars that reach a Washington Ave critical mass.  The beer and wine place I linked to above in Oak Cliff is an example of how looser laws can push people into the neighborhood to open more and more places to go and drink.  When these pile up like they have on White Oak, they get to be a problem.  Without deed restrictions, no where in the Heights is immune.  The dry area is the only defense at this point.

And to answer the question there have been a lot of bars opening in the "wet" areas of the Heights and many more would be in the dry area.  A compromise carry out law will push more people to try to open BYOB/carry out places.  Lots of places to drink have opened in the past ten years in the wet areas:

 

Public House

Christian's Tailgate

Canard 

Lei Low

Johnny's Gold Brick

D&T Drive Inn

Town in City Brewery

Lucky's

Little Woodrow's

Cedar Creek

Big Star 

The Boot

Crisp

Warehouse Bar

Providence

Coming soon:

Heights Bier Garden

Wooster's Annex

The real bier garden from Pearland

 

 

 

 

Well that wasn't my question and I think you know that. Its odd how every debate about this issue ends up with talks about liquor and bars. Not one of these places you listed is retail that would benefit from this current update and is instead a list of bars that are not effected. Remember you can list a bunch of new bars in the dry zone as well. The question I raised was set on the idea that if the dry law was updated as proposed it would open up development to new unwanted and low class retail establishments selling beer and wine. If this hypothesis is true you should have seen these places opening up around the dry zone boundaries this past decade but the only example I can come up with is Premium Draught.  Now why would the update of the dry law suddenly encourage these places to open when none have opened just across the street? 

 

I am suggesting that fears of allowing the purchase of beer and wine for off site consumption will lead to the construction of more liquor stores, bars, and convenience stores in the Heights dry zone doesn't make sense. First the update doesn't effect liquor sales, second they are already building bars and again this update doesn't change those laws, and lastly no development on the fringes of the dry zone have demonstrated the retail fears I am hearing.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, bedmondson said:

 

Well that wasn't my question and I think you know that. Its odd how every debate about this issue ends up with talks about liquor and bars. Not one of these places you listed is retail that would benefit from this current update and is instead a list of bars that are not effected. Remember you can list a bunch of new bars in the dry zone as well. The question I raised was set on the idea that if the dry law was updated as proposed it would open up development to new unwanted and low class retail establishments selling beer and wine. If this hypothesis is true you should have seen these places opening up around the dry zone boundaries this past decade but the only example I can come up with is Premium Draught.  Now why would the update of the dry law suddenly encourage these places to open when none have opened just across the street? 

 

I am suggesting that fears of allowing the purchase of beer and wine for off site consumption will lead to the construction of more liquor stores, bars, and convenience stores in the Heights dry zone doesn't make sense. First the update doesn't effect liquor sales, second they are already building bars and again this update doesn't change those laws, and lastly no development on the fringes of the dry zone have demonstrated the retail fears I am hearing.

 

 

 

 

And that wasn't really my point.  My first concern is with the existing retailers being able to sell alcohol.  Sunny's, CVS, Walgreens and Kroger will be able to sell wine and beer.  There are plenty of people passing through the Heights who I would not want to make alcohol more accessible.  Homeless people like to hang out at the far end of W. 19th and pluck through the dumpster by the Sand Dollar to find clothes and other things to add to their collection.  Sunny's is right on the bus stop.  There are some pretty grizzled looking people coming through Sunny's.  I do not want to give them access to single servings of beer and malt liquor just a few blocks away from a playground and my house.  I know other people think nothing of the convenience store or liquor store near where they live, but they knew it was there when they moved in.  There was no election in which people living a mile away got to decide to put it there.

 

I do not see any expansion in convenience stores or low brow places.  I do see an expansion in the number of people who are willing to take on the challenge of retrofitting existing retail space in the dry zone to serve wine and beer in a BYOB/off premises permit combination.  There are only a very select few who are willing to deal with the club permit system.  But there are loads of people who would be willing to try something less demanding.  That is what the partial repeal offers.  When you add to that all the new places that will go through the paces of the club permit system, you will start to get too many restaurant/bars piling up too close to each other.  We have no deed restrictions or anything else to control that.  Only the dry zone provides any way to limit the density of places where people can drink.  And when you start putting too many of these places close together, you can end up with another White Oak Ave party spot, but in the dry zone.  Lots of nice bars and restaurants all piled together can be as much a problem and low brow ones.  The long list of bars that have come to the Heights over the past few years shows that interest in the Heights is substantial and the potential for overdevelopment is very real.  

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, s3mh said:

And things in the wet parts of the Heights are not so wonderful.  Hang out on White Oak and Studewood on Friday night.  

 

That intersection's been eight blocks from my house since all that was there was Fitzgeralds, Jimmie's, the Reddy Room, and a convenience store that sold beer and wine - the last two of which are no longer there.  

 

The referendum is about off premise beer and wine sales, not on premise consumption.  It's hard to imagine a deluge of bro-bots invading the neighborhood in search of a beer store.

Edited by mollusk
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6 hours ago, s3mh said:

 

You ducked a lot of substance with little more than a crack about Walmart.  The Montrose store is an interesting point.  HEB is asking the neighborhood to give up something very substantial.  But what is HEB doing in return?  With the Montrose store, they went to Lake Flato for architecture, offered to dedicate park space (but the City did not meet them half way as it was too busy handing out favors to Walmart) and preserved as many trees as they could.  What is HEB doing for the Heights?  Nothing.  Design considerations?  Nothing.  Scale?  As big as they can get it (by the way, the Montrose store is a beast--how many boxes of Frosted Flakes do you need on a shelf anyway?) and on stilts instead of having a grounds level store fronting the street with structured parking in back (funny how your vigilance for set back follies has disappeared).  Central Market?  No.  In sum, the message from HEB is clear:  We really do not see anything special about the Heights and will dump a typical suburban store on stilts in your neighborhood if you give away some of your land use restrictions.  No thanks.

 

 

Sorry you feel that way. (Really)

 

With respect to design, I think HEB has earned some credibility, especially in comparison with its competition. 

 

With respect to the Montrose store, HEB replaced a beloved complex of low-rise art-deco apartments on a beautifully wooded lot about as thoughtfully as possible while still complying with CoH's development rules (parking, setbacks, etc.). The size of that store is about 3/5 the size of the Bunker Hill store. I don't frequent the cereal aisle, so I can't really speak to the Frosted Flakes

 

At the Shepherd site, I have little doubt that whatever they build will be an improvement over what preceded it. In fact, I'm willing to bet that the amount of area dedicated solely to surface parking will be a significant decrease over what was there previously.

 

 

But... I don't think any of that really matters to those making the "they'll tear down our bungalows to sell demon spirits" argument. It's about land use control. But using prohibition as a way to control land use is a little like using a lawn mower to trim the hedges: I suppose it's possible, but it's really not the best tool for the job, and you might end up doing more harm than good.

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, s3mh said:

 

You ducked a lot of substance with little more than a crack about Walmart.  The Montrose store is an interesting point.  HEB is asking the neighborhood to give up something very substantial.  But what is HEB doing in return?  With the Montrose store, they went to Lake Flato for architecture, offered to dedicate park space (but the City did not meet them half way as it was too busy handing out favors to Walmart) and preserved as many trees as they could.  What is HEB doing for the Heights?  Nothing.  Design considerations?  Nothing.  Scale?  As big as they can get it (by the way, the Montrose store is a beast--how many boxes of Frosted Flakes do you need on a shelf anyway?) and on stilts instead of having a grounds level store fronting the street with structured parking in back (funny how your vigilance for set back follies has disappeared).  Central Market?  No.  In sum, the message from HEB is clear:  We really do not see anything special about the Heights and will dump a typical suburban store on stilts in your neighborhood if you give away some of your land use restrictions.  No thanks.

 

 

Sorry you feel that way. (Really)

 

With respect to design, I think HEB has earned some credibility, especially in comparison with its competition. 

 

With respect to the Montrose store, HEB replaced a beloved complex of low-rise art-deco apartments on a beautifully wooded lot about as thoughtfully as possible while still complying with CoH's development rules (parking, setbacks, etc.). The size of that store is about 3/5 the size of the Bunker Hill store. I don't frequent the cereal aisle, so I can't really speak to the Frosted Flakes

 

At the Shepherd site, I have little doubt that whatever they build will be an improvement over what preceded it. In fact, I'm willing to bet that the amount of area dedicated solely to surface parking will be a significant decrease over what was there previously.

 

 

But... I don't think any of that really matters to those making the "they'll tear down our bungalows to sell demon spirits" argument. It's about land use control. But using prohibition as a way to control land use is a little like using a lawn mower to trim the hedges: I suppose it's possible, but it's really not the best tool for the job, and you might end up doing more harm than good.

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, Angostura said:

 

 

 

But... I don't think any of that really matters to those making the "they'll tear down our bungalows to sell demon spirits" argument. It's about land use control. But using prohibition as a way to control land use is a little like using a lawn mower to trim the hedges: I suppose it's possible, but it's really not the best tool for the job, and you might end up doing more harm than good.

 

 

 

If there were other options for land use restrictions, we could debate the efficacy of the dry zone.  But there are none.  The dry zone has offered residents a modicum of local control that does not exist in the wet areas.  It is an imperfect land use control, but it does have a real effect.  And giving it up will mean a significant increase in the number of beer and wine retail sellers who are in close proximity to schools, playgrounds, parks and residential areas.  The Heights is the family friendly inner loop neighborhood.  We are not Montrose.  Mere assurances that more beer and wine retailers will not happen and no one will try a workaround BYOB on the club permit system are hollow words.  Ten years ago no one would have imagined 1,250 new apartment units, $475k for a 5000 sq ft lot and a dozen new restaurants a year in the Heights.  Giving up an important development restriction to suit a single grocer is dumb given that HEB is going to build somewhere on Washington Ave and Whole Foods will also build on Yale.  

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On 10/24/2016 at 10:01 AM, s3mh said:

 

 If HEB came to Braeswood residents and asked them to give up their deed restrictions in order to put in a fancy new grocery store, people in your neighborhood would completely lose it. 

 

How is restricting commerce (preventing sales of a legal beverage) the same as deed restrictions? Is the "keep it dry" club saying that preventing beer sales is acting as some form of DR for the neighborhood?

 

I'm confused about what keeping it dry has accomplished to date. It just seems like a pointless law leftover from our great grandparents.

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4 hours ago, s3mh said:

Giving up an important development restriction to suit a single grocer is dumb given that HEB is going to build somewhere on Washington Ave and Whole Foods will also build on Yale.  

 

People value things differently I suppose. On my personal scale, my desire to control what other people do with their property weighs less heavily than my belief that it shouldn't be illegal to buy and sell alcoholic beverages. This is especially when that control mechanism is almost entirely ineffective, and there is a real, concrete advantage to me of loosening prohibition (in the form of a new grocery store that I can walk to).

 

I understand that other people's scales may tip the other way, but I hope that when given a choice between more freedom and less freedom, enough of us will choose more.

 

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On 10/24/2016 at 8:02 AM, Angostura said:

Finally, "beer and wine only package stores" are not a thing that exists. Alcohol retailers in Texas have two choices: operate beer and wine only and sell from 7AM to midnight 6 days a week, and noon to midnight on Sunday, or sell everything and only open from 10AM to 9PM, 6 days a week. I know of no specialty alcohol retailers who have chosen the former. The only thing that comes close is Premium Draught, which sells growlers. I don't believe they are considered a blight on their neighborhood.

Premium Draught, Jugs, Growlers, Houston Wine Merchant, D&Q, lots of others, not that I think they're causing any problems.

Hopefully Heights votes yes.

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1 hour ago, brian0123 said:

 

How is restricting commerce (preventing sales of a legal beverage) the same as deed restrictions? Is the "keep it dry" club saying that preventing beer sales is acting as some form of DR for the neighborhood?

 

I'm confused about what keeping it dry has accomplished to date. It just seems like a pointless law leftover from our great grandparents.

The dry zone has saved the Heights from getting overrun with bars.  No one in the Heights will dispute that.  19th Street would have been what Washington Ave is today but for the dry zone.  

 

Neighborhoods with deed restrictions effectively have dry zones due to restrictions on commercial activity.  Thoroughfares like Stella Link and Buffalo Speedway have no commercial development in Braeswood Place due to deed restrictions.  That means that the neighborhood is effectively a dry zone because all commercial development is restricted to Holcombe and Braeswood.  In the Heights. our neighborhood is crisscrossed by thoroughfares with no restrictions.  Everyone in the Heights is not much more than at best a half mile from a commercial thoroughfare.  And those commercial streets blend right into the residential areas.  So, bars, restaurants, convenience stores, etc. have a real impact on the residential areas.  The dry area gives us the only level of control we have over those areas that greatly affect the quality of life in the neighborhood.  Developers will pack in as many bars, restaurants, etc. in the Heights as they can given how the neighborhood has grown.  Giving up any line of defense just so one grocery store can have its preferred location is not a wise move in a city with no zoning.

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This is what happens when you refuse to negotiate deed restrictions with your neighbors and convince the city to impose historic districts instead. 

 

If the proposition fails, I will be writing my legislators to urge them to allow a city wide vote, since this decision affects more than the Heights.

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14 hours ago, s3mh said:

The dry zone has saved the Heights from getting overrun with bars.  No one in the Heights will dispute that.  19th Street would have been what Washington Ave is today but for the dry zone.  

 

Neighborhoods with deed restrictions effectively have dry zones due to restrictions on commercial activity.  Thoroughfares like Stella Link and Buffalo Speedway have no commercial development in Braeswood Place due to deed restrictions.  That means that the neighborhood is effectively a dry zone because all commercial development is restricted to Holcombe and Braeswood.  In the Heights. our neighborhood is crisscrossed by thoroughfares with no restrictions.  Everyone in the Heights is not much more than at best a half mile from a commercial thoroughfare.  And those commercial streets blend right into the residential areas.  So, bars, restaurants, convenience stores, etc. have a real impact on the residential areas.  The dry area gives us the only level of control we have over those areas that greatly affect the quality of life in the neighborhood.  Developers will pack in as many bars, restaurants, etc. in the Heights as they can given how the neighborhood has grown.  Giving up any line of defense just so one grocery store can have its preferred location is not a wise move in a city with no zoning.

This prop has nothing to do with liquor sales though. My neighborhood is between a Fiesta, Randall's, HEB, Kroger, another Kroger... all that sell beer and wine. The difference between my neighborhood and the Heights (deed restrictions aside) is the street layout... which I would argue does more than anything. We do have liquor sales along Buffalo and Stella too (spec's is one of them). Even with that we haven't been impacted. Again, it's the layout. Heights is setup to develop more urban, just like Midtown. You all have tiny lots close together. Selling beer (or not) isn't going to change that.

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On 10/24/2016 at 7:24 PM, Angostura said:

 

 

Sorry you feel that way. (Really)

 

With respect to design, I think HEB has earned some credibility, especially in comparison with its competition. 

 

With respect to the Montrose store, HEB replaced a beloved complex of low-rise art-deco apartments on a beautifully wooded lot about as thoughtfully as possible while still complying with CoH's development rules (parking, setbacks, etc.). The size of that store is about 3/5 the size of the Bunker Hill store. I don't frequent the cereal aisle, so I can't really speak to the Frosted Flakes

 

 

 

 Sorry. A few attractive store sites do not give a chain "credibility". McDonald's has built or remodeled some very attractive, unique buildings, and I wouldn't trust them to build one of those stores in my neighborhood. In fact, nearly every brand in corporate America (that builds stores, of course) has at least one "cool" store that makes industry headlines. H-E-B is one of the worst stores in appearance, opting for plain yellow boxes or using green or blue. If anyone is thinking the Heights store is going to be like the Montrose store, they're kidding themselves.

 

Furthermore, while I think a dry zone is a pretty dated concept but it does bug me that H-E-B would want it removed. If H-E-B thinks it can't make a profit without alcohol sales, then they probably shouldn't be thinking about building in the Heights to begin with. Outside of Texas, there are plenty of states that do not have alcohol sales inside grocery stores at all, and yet those do fine. Pre-Tom Thumb Randalls also did not sell beer or wine, and it was one of the biggest chains in the Houston area and was a respected name until Safeway ran it into the ground.

 

Secondly, H-E-B has prided itself on the "stores fitting the neighborhood". For them to demand changes in local ordinances before they set foot in the neighborhood flies against that policy.

 

Thirdly, it's stupid to vote YES to get that H-E-B, because it's an entirely possible scenario that H-E-B will back out for some other reason even after the law is changed. As far as I know, H-E-B is not contractually bound to build and operate an H-E-B within X years of the law being changed.

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1 hour ago, brian0123 said:

This prop has nothing to do with liquor sales though. My neighborhood is between a Fiesta, Randall's, HEB, Kroger, another Kroger... all that sell beer and wine. The difference between my neighborhood and the Heights (deed restrictions aside) is the street layout... which I would argue does more than anything. We do have liquor sales along Buffalo and Stella too (spec's is one of them). Even with that we haven't been impacted. Again, it's the layout. Heights is setup to develop more urban, just like Midtown. You all have tiny lots close together. Selling beer (or not) isn't going to change that.

Street layout and deed restrictions go hand in hand.  The north south streets in Braeswood have no commercial development thanks to deed restrictions.  People buying alcohol on the east/west commercial corridors are not going to cross through the residential areas because there are no businesses along the north/south streets.  In the Heights, the commercial corridors run both north/south and east/west.  People pass through the residential areas all the time to get from Shep to Yale, 19th to 11th, Heights to Studewood, and so on.  So, our neighborhood is wide open.  The dry zone limits the impact of this design.  Allowing beer and wine sales will mean that at a minimum 5 additional retailers (CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Sunny's & Michoacana) will offer cheap beer and wine within close proximity to residential development, schools, parks and playgrounds.  We have homeless people camping out in a number of locations in the Heights (under the Heights Blvd bridge at white oak bayou and over by the Sand Dollar thrift shop).  Someone reported on nextdoor that they saw a drunk guy fall off his bike over by Lawrence Park and hide in the dark.  A partial repeal of the dry zone is without a doubt going to increase access to cheap beer and wine to people passing through on the bus or on foot.  Transients will be able to get single servings of beer at Sunny's and go drink at Milroy park, or go to CVS and pass out drunk at Marmion Park.  All this just so HEB can have a second location in the Heights (word is that there is a lease signed for Washington Ave Waugh).  

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22 hours ago, s3mh said:

Street layout and deed restrictions go hand in hand.  The north south streets in Braeswood have no commercial development thanks to deed restrictions.  People buying alcohol on the east/west commercial corridors are not going to cross through the residential areas because there are no businesses along the north/south streets.  In the Heights, the commercial corridors run both north/south and east/west.  People pass through the residential areas all the time to get from Shep to Yale, 19th to 11th, Heights to Studewood, and so on.  So, our neighborhood is wide open.  The dry zone limits the impact of this design.  Allowing beer and wine sales will mean that at a minimum 5 additional retailers (CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Sunny's & Michoacana) will offer cheap beer and wine within close proximity to residential development, schools, parks and playgrounds.  We have homeless people camping out in a number of locations in the Heights (under the Heights Blvd bridge at white oak bayou and over by the Sand Dollar thrift shop).  Someone reported on nextdoor that they saw a drunk guy fall off his bike over by Lawrence Park and hide in the dark.  A partial repeal of the dry zone is without a doubt going to increase access to cheap beer and wine to people passing through on the bus or on foot.  Transients will be able to get single servings of beer at Sunny's and go drink at Milroy park, or go to CVS and pass out drunk at Marmion Park.  All this just so HEB can have a second location in the Heights (word is that there is a lease signed for Washington Ave Waugh).  

So you're already experiencing problems despite the dry law, and are concerned it will get worse? The issues you describe sound more like law enforcement problems than access to beer. We had similar problems when I lived in Midtown and it just took repeated calls to HPD and city council to get it cleaned up.

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23 hours ago, IronTiger said:

 Furthermore, while I think a dry zone is a pretty dated concept but it does bug me that H-E-B would want it removed. If H-E-B thinks it can't make a profit without alcohol sales, then they probably shouldn't be thinking about building in the Heights to begin with. Outside of Texas, there are plenty of states that do not have alcohol sales inside grocery stores at all, and yet those do fine.

 

 

If it's a dated concept (which it is) then it should be worth getting rid of anyway, HEB or no HEB.

 

If no grocery stores in Texas, or even Houston, for that matter, could sell alcohol, it wouldn't be an issue. The problem is that a store at this site that isn't able to sell beer and wine will have to compete with one 12 blocks away that can. 

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32 minutes ago, brian0123 said:

So you're already experiencing problems despite the dry law, and are concerned it will get worse? The issues you describe sound more like law enforcement problems than access to beer. We had similar problems when I lived in Midtown and it just took repeated calls to HPD and city council to get it cleaned up.

The repeated calls to HPD and city council happened five years ago and have been ongoing.  We also have a constable program where subscribers get a Harris County Constable patrol and direct number.  There are a couple of local TV reporters living in the neighborhood.  Stories about crime get on the news all the time because word gets to the local TV stations very quickly.  Just in the past few weeks, stories have been on the news about someone stealing a dog, a bike thief and a group of kids trying to rob people walking on the bike path by White Oak Bayou.  But despite what can only be described as neighborhood hyper-vigilance, problems persist in the neighborhood.  We are close to three major highways and are crisscrossed by multiple bus lines.  Just about anybody and everybody is passing through the Heights.  Adding five retailers selling cheap beer and wine in a very concentrated area that is already experiencing all sorts of problems with crime and vagrants is not a good idea, even if it means we get an extra HEB in addition to the one that is going in on Waugh and Washington Ave.

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On 10/26/2016 at 9:21 AM, s3mh said:

Allowing beer and wine sales will mean that at a minimum 5 additional retailers (CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Sunny's & Michoacana) will offer cheap beer and wine within close proximity to residential development, schools, parks and playgrounds.  

 

This is not factually accurate.

 

Neither CVS nor Walgreen's qualify as a grocery store under chapter 3, and therefore run afoul of the 300-ft rule due to their proximity to Hamilton Middle School. La Michoacana is not in the dry zone, but would presumably also run afoul of the 300-ft rule due to its proximity to Love Elementary since, although it is largely a grocery store, it is less than 10,000 s.f., so it doesn't qualify under Chapter 3.

 

Both the 20th St Kroger and Sunny's on 14th will likely apply for and receive off-premise licenses, so you'll be able to pick up a 6-pack while waiting to pick up your pizza at Pink's.

 

I would also not be surprised if Revival Market applied as well.

 

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41 minutes ago, Angostura said:

 

This is not factually accurate.

 

 

Does that really matter in this context?  Straw man arguments are a time honored attribute of issue discussions.  The only real value in knocking them down is if there are onlookers who haven't joined one camp or another.  That, and it can be a virtual substitute for aerobic exercise (which many of us could stand more of).

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Just checked this thread because I was wondering if the usual suspects would be up in a clamor over this.  Yep.

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1 hour ago, Angostura said:

 

This is not factually accurate.

 

Neither CVS nor Walgreen's qualify as a grocery store under chapter 3, and therefore run afoul of the 300-ft rule due to their proximity to Hamilton Middle School. La Michoacana is not in the dry zone, but would presumably also run afoul of the 300-ft rule due to its proximity to Love Elementary since, although it is largely a grocery store, it is less than 10,000 s.f., so it doesn't qualify under Chapter 3.

 

Both the 20th St Kroger and Sunny's on 14th will likely apply for and receive off-premise licenses, so you'll be able to pick up a 6-pack while waiting to pick up your pizza at Pink's.

 

I would also not be surprised if Revival Market applied as well.

 

Why wouldn't CVS or Walgreens qualify?  Because you say so?  f Kroger is going to be selling beer and wine, CVS and Walgreens would certainly want to take a shot at getting the exemption.  The ordinance is not written tightly enough to make it obvious that a store like CVS would be excluded.  And given the way the City of Houston likes to fold like a cheap suit under the weight of big business interests, I would be surprised if CVS and Walgreens did not get the exemption.

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14 minutes ago, JJxvi said:

Just checked this thread because I was wondering if the usual suspects would be up in a clamor over this.  Yep.

Actually, this issue has thrown people in all different directions.  I have seen ardent anti-HAHC people come out for vote no (Bill Baldwin is behind the Keep the Heights Weird vote no group).  I have seen ardent anti-Walmart people come out strongly in favor of HEB (won't name names as they are not public figures).  So, sorry.  The world is a bit more complicated than what you hear on AM radio every morning.

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16 minutes ago, JJxvi said:

Ha. I didn't say anything about what side anybody was on, just the levels of clamor.

Oh, I see.  Caring about your neighborhood and voicing opinions is something that you think is worthy of ridicule.  That is even worse.

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La Michoacana already sells beer.  I've had occasion to pick up a cheap, cold six-pack of tall boys to go with deliciously-marinated fajita meat and crispy chicharrones, whereupon I immediately transported my quarry to, and consumed it in, the Dry Heights.

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I am personally against certain parts of the city having different laws regarding "vices" than other parts.  I can't vote this item in this election.  But, if it came to a general election on this matter, I would vote to make the heights wet.

 

conversely, I am also fine with the heights de-annexing and creating their own town if they wish and then they could stay dry or wet by their own vote.

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23 hours ago, Angostura said:

 

 

If it's a dated concept (which it is) then it should be worth getting rid of anyway, HEB or no HEB.

 

If no grocery stores in Texas, or even Houston, for that matter, could sell alcohol, it wouldn't be an issue. The problem is that a store at this site that isn't able to sell beer and wine will have to compete with one 12 blocks away that can. 

You've basically ignored my other points to focus on one point in which I gave for a valid reason of voting Yes. I pointed out how your "H-E-B architecture can be nice" comment was essentially meaningless and you ignored that.

 

But even if it is somewhat dated, is that wrong? I think Texas roadside parks are in many ways functionally obsolete, that doesn't mean I'd like to see them all go away. Furthermore, as much as I like alcohol, I don't have a dependence on it that would cause me to demand the area be wet (now, 12 miles out of town on the other hand, but that's not the issue here).

 

To me, motivations matter. It's not just the availability of alcohol in the Heights, it's that H-E-B is pushing it in order to build a cookie-cutter store in the area (the "But H-E-B is LOCALIZED" argument would only show that if H-E-B really wanted to fit in with the neighborhood, it would not have a beer and wine section). If I lived in the Heights (which I don't), I would be very wary of anyone advocating to changing the law based solely on corporate interests, because that's what it is, isn't it?

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