Neighbors fight to keep Vegas-style bars off their block

March 12, 2011 5:29:53 AM PST
Neighbors are fighting to keep four Las Vegas-style bars off their block. A developer is proposing building the bars in the David Crockett subdivision near Lamar High School.

The Upper Kirby district has changed over the last few years, but residents say the latest proposed change is just too much and they're prepared to fight.

The corner of Westheimer and Kirby is thriving with bars and restaurants that draw hundreds of people each night. It's a developers dream, but this scenario is Patti Mosteller Davis' nightmare. "We're not set up for nightclubs," she said.

Davis has lived in a small subdivision just west of Kirby for almost 20 years.

"We bought an old house actually," she said.

And she enjoys the best of both worlds -- quiet streets, good neighbors with all the benefits of being in the city. But now she worries the city is getting a little too close.

"Our fear would be that the neighborhood streets would be inundated with cars," she said.

Just two blocks away are the beginnings of what some residents believe will turn into as many as five nightclubs. Developers have already applied for permits to turn an old funeral home into two bars and a restaurant.

Besides the lack of parking and the potential for overflow onto their streets, the problem, residents say, is that this property falls under their deed restrictions and those restrictions prohibit alcohol sales.

"The city has a deed restriction enforcement division. They say what they are about is protecting the neighborhoods and we would like them to protect us," homeowner Mavis Kelsey said. "We've talked to them. They don't seem to be very excited about helping us out."

No one with the mayor's office or the city attorney's office responded to our request for comment, and Anne Clutterbuck, the city council member who represents this area, declined an interview. Three men surveying the property on Friday didn't want to talk to us either.

Arthur Doyle isn't sure how that bodes for his neighborhood, one he knows well.

"I grew up in this house," he said.

He wants it preserved for his children while preparing for how it might change.

"Pretty much a parking lot all weekend and probably as long as it's open," Doyle said.

The subdivision has filed a protest with TABC, hoping to block an application for a liquor license. They're also organizing and promising to sue if the city doesn't support them.