Sports bar too close to child care

April 8, 2009 9:23:35 PM PDT
Some local bar owners say they think the rug is being pulled out from under them. They're being told the location of their bar may be against the law, even though they already received paperwork saying that's not the case. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Just beyond the walls of a daycare is the cement wall of a strip center that includes a new bar that opened a few weeks ago. The day care owner says the bar never should have opened if someone used their tape measure properly.

Leb Kemp owns a daycare, but he's also had to learn a few things that precinct constables are responsible for, like the proper way to measure for a liquor license.

"We're depending on the law to make sure that the laws are enforced that nobody gets too close to us, but it hasn't been happening," said Kemp.

What Kemp can't believe is that a bar was allowed to open next door to his daycare. Kemp says Precinct 5 Constables have been measuring incorrectly, using driveways as streets instead of actual TABC code.

"It's from the property line of the place of business to the property line and the direct line to the public or private school," said TABC spokesperson Richard Wills.

Daycares fall under private schools and it's only 35 feet away from the strip center that houses the bar, not the 300 feet that TABC law mandates.

The Harris County Attorney's Office says 20 Below Sports Lounge is clearly in violation and worries that incorrect measuring could affect liquor licenses across the county.

"If there's ten out there, we're prepared to address those ten. If there's a thousand, it might take us a little bit longer, but we're going to address each and every one in Harris County," said Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan.

Kemp says Harris County attorneys should be busy as Precinct 5 Constables didn't know they were measuring incorrectly.

"This is how they've been measuring. This is how they were taught to measure. They've been measuring like that for 19-20 years," said Kemp.

The Precinct 5 Constables Office released a statement saying, "In following the extremely complex measurement standards of the state, a Precinct 5 employee misapplied the distance in this case."

We're also told they will begin retraining employees with the correct procedures.

As for the sports bar, the Harris County Attorney's Office says the bar is clearly in violation and should expect to be closed. However, the bar owners tells us they are prepared to go to court.

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