Edinburg City Council members say they only have the best intentions in mind, which is to protect residents of a subdivision following a controversial decision that allows consumption of alcohol at a facility near their homes.
A decision by the council to approve a special use one-year permit for consumption of alcohol at La Antigua Revilla Banquet Center in the Mission Tile subdivision was made because there are more restrictions put in place when vendors sell alcohol themselves, according to council member Alma Garza.
The Edinburg Review had reported Jan. 28 that residents of the Hacienda del Bronco subdivision located near the banquet hall responded with dismay saying the traffic, alcohol consumption and loud music from the hall would disrupt their way of life in the neighborhood.
In a response, council member Garza approached the Edinburg Review before the City Council meeting on Tuesday night to say she didn't want the council to come across as being uncaring towards resident’s feelings.
"It wasn't a matter that we don't care about their feelings, that's what bothered me," Garza said. "We need to make sure they (residents) understand that it wasn't a matter of us voting saying 'we want them to sell alcohol, we rather they didn't."
"There are more restrictions when they sell it (alcohol) themselves," she said. "But if it's BYOB they just set up and people can come in and out with bottles. I think that's more dangerous," she said.
Council members made their decision at their regular meeting on Jan. 20. Garza said the fact that the facility was already zoned for commercial use didn't come before the council at all.
The facility would have sold alcohol regardless, but since the city has approved the permit, the facility is now required to have more officers on site, and those who run the facility can "cut people off" when patrons have had too much to drink.
"The banquet hall was zoned for that already, it wasn't anything we voted on. I just didn't want people to think we were discounting them, if we are going to do it one way or another I would have tighter restrictions than just BYOB," Garza said. "I would rather protect them as much as we can, and that's about as much as we can do."
Council member Noe Garza gave banquet hall owner Jose Luis Ramirez a trial period of about six months in which the city would determine if the facility is compliant with all municipal codes via neighboring property input and police reports. The permit may be revoked for any violations of city and TABC regulations, according to the city.
Ramirez, is proposing two halls to be located in one 10,000-square-foot building to be leased for luncheons and business meetings on weekdays, and quinceañeras or weddings on Fridays and Saturdays.
The banquet hall will hold a capacity of about 700 people. In his presentation to the city, Ramirez said he planned to have security guards for the evening events who would also serve a dual role to direct traffic away from the neighborhood.