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Killeen’s ordinance to regulate BYOB businesses failed, now what?

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 6:52 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Killeen city leaders who championed a failed ordinance to regulate businesses that allow patrons to bring alcohol say they are still working on measures to reduce violence linked to those establishments.

Killeen City Councilwoman Melissa Brown introduced the ordinance to the Killeen City Council.

The ordinance would have required BYOB businesses to get an annual permit through the city. BYOB businesses are those that aren’t regulated by the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission and allow patrons to bring their own alcohol.

The ordinance would have also required those businesses to have commercial liability insurance, develop a security plan, have a manager on site during business hours and close by 2 a.m.

By a 4-3 vote Killeen city council members did not pass the ordinance.

Council woman Brown said she is disappointed at the vote because the ordinance aimed to reduce violence at BYOB establishments.

“Violence happens at TABC regulated bars, at backyard BBQs at the park but it also happens at BYOBs. They’re a little more susceptible to violence because they open late right now some of them open as late as 5 a.m,” Brown said. “So if a regular bar closes and you have someone who has already been drinking all night and they go to a late night after hours place and continue to drink, they’re going to become more intoxicated,” she said.

2 of the city’s seven fatal shootings so far this year have happened at BYOB establishments.

A man was shot and killed in a shooting at Club Legends on 308 S. Second St., on May 2.

In February a 25-year old man was shot at the Crew Hookah Lounge, a BYOB club, at 4400 Watercrest Road and later died.

Brown said although the ordinance failed, she plans to continue working with specific BYOB businesses to improve security.

She says she is also working to craft a compromise ordinance---a commercial noise that would alleviate noise complaints from residents who neighbor these BYOB establishments.

One consideration of the commercial noise ordinance is to require BYOB businesses to stop playing music outdoors at a certain time.

Killeen’s failed BYOB ordinance was modeled after the same ordinance adopted in Harker Heights in April 2020. After more than a year of being in effect Harker Heights officials say only one business is following the ordinance and has an active permit.

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