The Robstown City Council last week upheld a zoning recommendation to deny a businessman's request to build a tavern on Lincoln Avenue.
A group of Robstown residents showed up to raise opposition at the March 10 city council meeting, objecting to illegal drug use, public drunkenness and prostitution in the southside neighborhood.
Robstown businessman Daniel Cabriales asked the council to override the Planning & Zoning Commission's recommendation so that he could build the tavern on Lincoln Avenue.
Cabriales wanted to re-zone some lots at 501 Lincoln Ave., previously the Cruz Gonzalez Grocery Store, from a B-1, Neighborhood Business District, to a B-2, Secondary Highway Business District.
Cabriales owns the property and feels he should be able to open a tavern at the site of the former grocery store.
"Taxes are high, and I've been paying taxes on this property which isn't being used for anything right now," Cabriales said. "I need to make some money from my properties and a local tavern is what would be the easiest profit."
The Robstown Planning & Zoning Commission denied the re-zoning application and Cabriales appealed the decision to the city council.
About 10 residents living near the former grocery store turned out at the council meeting to strongly voice their opposition to the proposed tavern, citing criminal activity in the area.
"Our young children, most of them 13 and younger, are going to be raised around this tavern and it just isn't a good environment to bring children up in," said Monica Huerta. "Fights and drug use are common near taverns; this is not something we need in our community or for Robstown's reputation."
A couple of the local residents also mentioned alternatives Cabriales might pursue instead of opening up a tavern.
"Maybe another business would be successful in our community, maybe a laundry mat on our side of town would be a good idea," Zulema Cruz said.
Cabriales currently has five businesses in Robstown and council members said they were appreciative of his businesses in the community.
"I feel that the people speaking against me are over-exaggerating," Cabriales said. "The only requirement that wouldn't allow my tavern to be opened is if my business were within 300 feet of a school or church, which is not the case in my situation."
The city council unanimously upheld the Planning & Zoning Commission's recommendation after focusing on the strong public opposition.
The motion to deny the request was made by Councilwoman Arlene Rodriguez and seconded by Councilwoman Sybil Tipton.