In a July memo, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson called on the City Attorney’s Office and the Dallas Police Department to begin challenging the liquor licenses of companies “that have acted irresponsibly and created public safety concerns” in Dallas nightlife.
“Several violent incidents in our city’s vibrant and thriving nightlife districts have caused security concerns,” Johnson said. “I appreciate the efforts of our police department and our community partners in response, but we need to make sure we are doing everything we can to make our iconic neighborhoods as safe as possible.”
Johnson said that’s why he wants to see DPD and the city attorney’s office “challenge the liquor licenses of any companies that have acted irresponsibly and catalyzed public safety issues in these neighborhoods.”
He added, “The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has an established process in place for such license protests, and we should be prepared to take full advantage of that process in the interest of public safety.”
Since the July memo, city staff and the DPD have been working with the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission (TABC) to develop a protest plan against new applications or license renewals allowing businesses to sell alcohol.
The plan was outlined in a memo this week from deputy city manager Jon Fortune. The first is a call for more communication between the TABC and municipal services. Representatives from the TABC and the city will meet every two months to review crime data and active permits, which they hope will help determine next steps.
“The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has an established process in place for such license protests, and we should be prepared to take full advantage of that process in the interest of public safety.” – Mayor Eric Johnson
Businesses that Dallas believes are creating public safety concerns could be subject to more thorough inspections to ensure they are following crime prevention measures established by the city.
If companies fail to implement these crime prevention measures or address code violations, they could be subject to “enhanced enforcement.” The city said this would include “challenges of any renewals of TABC permits/licenses to sell alcohol; habitual criminal/nuisance property designation; or litigation. »
The city has been working on other measures to address public safety issues related to Dallas nightlife outside of the liquor licensing protest.
For example, after an unauthorized party with security provided by off-duty DPD officers ended in gunfire killing one and injuring several others, the city enacted its ordinance on business promoters. The ordinance requires all commercial promoters to register with the Office of Special Events and provide security plans for all commercially promoted events. If developers don’t comply, they risk a criminal citation of up to $500, designation as a habitual nuisance property, and being held financially responsible for any emergency response.
Dallas is also investigating potential city code changes regarding different types of land use. How the city defines and regulates restaurants and commercial uses of entertainment lands could change. A new set of regulations could also be created for concert halls. These changes to the city code are underway but must first go through the Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee and the city plan commission before a vote by the city council.
The mayor also suggested other crime prevention measures, such as strengthening Dallas’ sanitation efforts and creating more partnerships between local school districts and DPD.