By Moses Leos III
Buda residents Amy Rogers Knight and Debbie and Sherri Mylius thought they would open the first specialty grocery, delicatessen and liquor store in Buda. Their rezoning application, along with a special use permit, would have limited the trio to dedicate only 25 percent of their business to liquor sales.
But their application to rezone the property at 318 Main St. was voted down by Buda City Council 4-3 in June.
Meanwhile, that same council gave the green light in early June for JN Liquor, Buda’s first dedicated liquor store.
The rezoning request for Knight and the Mylius sisters passed 4-3 on initial reading. Mayor Pro-Tem Bobby Lane, who voted for the application on first reading, changed his mind during the second reading, citing safety concerns.
Councilmembers Eileen Altmiller, George Haehn and Wiley Hopkins echoed those concerns.
A possible increase in crime was one reason. The business contrasting with historic downtown was another.
The council’s decision left the impression of a double standard on the trio.
“Theoretically, we could have bought the lot and turned it into a live music venue,” Knight said. “That’s what they’re fighting against. We were okay to do that, but a package liquor store wasn’t? That’s the discrepancy.”
The knowledge that they weren’t the only liquor store interested in opening in Buda made the decision equally puzzling.
JN Liquor, which holds it’s grand opening on Friday, received its beer-and-wine permit on June 13. The business is a fully dedicated liquor store, is located at 1567 Main Street.
That business comes two years after Buda voters passed Proposition 1, allowing for liquor sales in the city limits.
Proposition 1, which passed with 79 percent of the vote, allows for businesses to apply for beer and wine permits from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
“We also feel we were unfairly judged and ousted,” Knight said.
Mayor Todd Ruge, who voted in favor of the three’s application, said it came down to where the two businesses planned to go.
He said the property where JN Liquor opened was zoned Arterial Commercial/Office/Retail.
The application for Knight and Mylius’ proposed store, which was located in the historic district, sought to change the property from Neighborhood to Arterial Commercial.
“The majority of council decided that wasn’t in the interest of that piece of property,” Ruge said.
The three still want to bring their business, which they deemed a “mini-Spec’s”, to Buda.
According to Knight, their business is innovative and answers a lot of needs, based on canvassing nearby neighborhoods.
“You can sit in there and eat fresh made, homemade sandwiches,” Knight said. “That was the crux of the business.”
The three are looking at several different locations, with the possibility of setting up on Main Street but not in the center of the historic district.
Knight contends their business plans could be brought before city council again.
Ruge said future cases, primarily zoning changes, would depend on where it’s located and how the property is zoned.
“We are hopeful city council will have valid reasons in making decisions, and not haphazardly changing their minds,” Knight said.
With the knowledge that the two stores are different, Knight hopes to see her specialty business thrive in Buda.