The city of Houston is cracking down on after-hours nightclubs with a new ordinance that regulates bring-your-own-bottle establishments.
After a lengthy debate, the Houston City Council unanimously passed the ordinance during its meeting on May 24. The ordinance establishes regulations for commercial establishments which do not have a license or permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, but still allow BYOB. According to the TABC there are no statewide BYOB law in Texas.
According to this new ordinance the BYOB establishments are required to apply annually for a BYOB license from the city and cannot operate without a Certificate of Occupancy.
Owners and operators must also be at least 21 years old and pass a criminal background check. A security plan is required, as well as a metal detector, or wand. Exterior lighting fixtures are also required, to illuminate the surrounding area of the business. At least one security guard must be present for every 100 customers.
A sign at the front entrance stating that alcohol consumption is not allowed in the parking area is also required. Alcohol cannot be sold in the business and can't be brought into the establishment between 2:15 am and 7 am, Monday through Saturday.
The inspection fee for the permit is $466 and the fee for the reinspection is $350. The ordinance is in effect immediately, but there is a grace period of 30 days.
Kathryn Bruning said, during a meeting on April 26, that the purpose of the ordinance was to give the city of Houston and the Houston Police Department another tool to combat criminal activity from these establishments.
According to an item on the City Council's agenda, between 2020 and 2022 HPD will respond to approximately 1,000 service calls at BYOB locations after 2 a.m. During the City Council Meeting, Mayor Sylvester Turner stated that the majority of criminal incidents that are related to this initiative take place in parking lots after 2:15 a.m.
He stated that this ordinance was not intended to close any businesses, but to create a safe environment.
Edward Pollard, District J Council member, said: 'We are trying to put in place all the safeguards that the good actors already follow.' Edward Pollard, District J Council Member, said: 'This is all it's about. We want to make sure that these loopholes have been closed so bad actors cannot use them to avoid any penalties and continue putting dangerous places in our communities.