Kyle businesses could get later hours for drink sales

Two years after a referendum loosened liquor sales in the city, Kyle City Council is on its way to extending the hours that night clubs, restaurants and similar businesses can sell alcohol.

At a Nov. 5 meeting, an ordinance allowing mixed beverage permit holders, such as James Rios' dance hall Desperados in downtown Kyle, to sell drinks until 2 a.m. passed 5-1, with Councilwoman Becky Selbera the only dissenting vote.

Selbera voiced concern that granting later hours to mixed beverage permit holders could spur criminal activity in downtown Kyle.

"I don't have a problem with this," Mayor Todd Webster said. "The way that businesses on Center Street have been operating has been good."

He said that businesses such as Centerfield Sports Bar and Grill, also owned by Rios, have revitalized Center Street. City leaders had tried in the past to stimulate activity in the city's historic district to no avail, he said.

Councilman David Wilson said he did not want to stall the momentum that Center Street has been building and felt if amendments were made to restrict the hours only downtown businesses could sell drinks, it would give business owners in other areas an unfair advantage.

The Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission mixed beverage permit holders can sell alcoholic drinks until midnight under current city of Kyle regulations.

Rios said his new dance hall at 110 W. Center St. would extend until 2 a.m. the hours it sells drinks, but Centerfield Sports Bar and Grill, 200 W. Center St., will likely remain selling drinks until midnight at the latest.

"I'm glad the council actually sees the importance of growth in the community, the importance of growth in businesses," he said. "I'm very happy they saw it as an opportunity and took that opportunity—and didn't allow the fear and what-ifs to overtake their thoughts."

Jerry Kolacny, who lives near the downtown area, said bars and dance halls downtown would attract gang-related activity and thus depreciate the area.

"I think you're setting up Kyle for spiraling decline," Kolacny said. "Crime is likely to follow and is already showing up."

Selbera said she feels the same way and that evidence of crime was not needed to vote the measure down.

"We don't need a reason now," she said. "We want to stop [an increase in crime] from ever occurring."

The second reading of the ordinance will be considered at a future meeting.