The Bangs ISD’s petition to prevent alcohol sales for properties near its buildings will have to wait until 2020 for any action to take place.
When voters approved the sale of beer and wine in Bangs in May, the first two businesses to apply for alcohol permits were Food Plaza and Allsups, which drew criticism from Bangs ISD Superintendent Tony Truelove and a petition to the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission — approved by the Bangs Board of Trustees — to remove the retail outlets’ alcohol permits.
“Our reservations are not with the sale of alcohol specifically,” said Truelove before approval of the petition in June. “It’s the sale of alcohol by establishments that border our property. They are right here. You can look at our parking lot, and the parking lot of one of the businesses and one could say ‘Whose parking lot is that, theirs or ours?’ It’s the proximately to small children that worries me.”
Truelove also expressed concerns with the location of the stores presenting a clear and present danger to the community. Due to Food Plaza’s location just outside of the Bangs High School football stadium, by its presence alone would increase the likelihood of a citizen or visiting fan for purchasing beer or wine and knowingly, or unknowingly, violate state law by bringing it onto school property.
“It’s also the proximity to our football stadium,” Truelove said. ”... I don’t want for it to be so convenient people could ice down their alcohol before the game, come out during halftime, drink a little bit and go back in. In no way are we saying these things haven’t happened in the past somehow. We’re just saying it’s more convenient for these things to happen.”
As part of the petition, the BISD board of Trustees requested the prevention alcohol sales for businesses within 300 feet of school property and officially protested the licenses issued by TABC. Chris Porter, public information officer for TABC, said the TABC could not take action on the petition without any grievous violation of city or state law by the businesses and would not consider addressing the petition until both businesses reapply for alcohol permits in 2020.
“Once a permit is issued, unless there is some sort of public safety issue, business will operate as usual,” Porter said. “Nobody may protest the issue if a permit already exists. If you open a bar and one of your neighbors had an issue with it, and wanted to close it down, they could not come to TABC with a protest until that renewal period. In essence, Food Plaza will operate until 2020, short of some catastrophic public safety investigation. The school would not be able to protest their permit until 2020.”
When news of the petition first came to light, Bangs Mayor Eric Bishop maintained his only goal throughout the process of legalizing the sale of beer and wine was to forward the will of the voters. With Bangs citizens approving the sale of beer and wine by a vote of 105 to 45, he believes the people have spoken, but that does not mean the safety of area children are not a concern to him.
“I’m concerned about the children too, but once this came into place my job is to quarterback it through and not say what is right and what is wrong,” he said. “There is no undoing what the voters said ... This is something I have heard people talk about for the last 10 years and I’m sure people have been talking about it for the last 50. They did it. It was successful and along the way people that were opposed to it had their chance to speak and 45 or so voted against it. I can’t speak for TABC or members of the city council as to what decisions they might make in the future, but at this point the preparation needs to be there is going to be beer and wine at Allsups and Food Plaza.”