BURNET, Texas (KXAN) — Nearly 30 residents in Silver Creek, a small rural community on Lake Buchanan in Burnet County, will likely have to wait two years to protest a liquor license issued by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, or TABC, for a new bar opening directly across the road from their neighborhood, because the address listed for the establishment was wrong on TABC’s website.
Janece Rolfe and her husband Paul moved to the area on Lake Buchanan after retiring nine years ago.
“We love it here. It’s a quiet and peaceful place,” Rolfe said.
Now, Rolfe told KXAN she — along with nearly 30 other residents — are concerned the quiet and peaceful nature of Silver Creek is in jeopardy.
Rolfe said a sign was posted in April in front of a small vacant building directly across from the entrance to her neighborhood.
The sign read, “Shadow and Light Bar Coming Soon!”
According to the Burnet Central Appraisal District, the proposed bar sits on less than a quarter-acre of land located on a two-lane ranch road in an unincorporated part of the county.
The property size, location and road conditions are some of the things Rolfe intended to address in her protest to TABC. Among the concerns Rolfe outlined in the protest she prepared for TABC was a school bus dropping children off on a private road next to the bar.
“Their safety will be threatened by patrons entering the small and what surely will be a congested parking area, as well as by patrons exiting the area onto a narrow, dangerous county road,” Rolfe said.
KXAN spoke to the proposed bar owner who said he was aware some neighbors had concerns and felt he had previously addressed them.
The owner told KXAN there will be no live music at the bar and said it’s intended to be a relaxed, family-friendly place where locals can conveniently get food and drinks.
The owner further explained he grew up in this area and currently has family who lives in the neighborhood.
“The property has been in my family for 30 years. This has always been a dream of mine,” he said.
New bar coming to town
According to Rolfe, she learned in April the property owners were in the process of applying for their liquor license with TABC, so she began preparing the community’s protest to TABC issuing a license.
The TABC’s protest process lets certain public officials “challenge a business’s alcohol license or permit application if they believe there is a risk to public safety,” according to its website. Members of the public can also protest if they live within 300 feet of the business.
In the months to follow, Rolfe gathered signatures from nearly 30 neighbors who were all planning to protest the new bar once the owners applied for a license with TABC.
It wasn’t until August that Rolfe said she was informed the local newspaper had published a public notice on June 24 stating an application for a Mixed Beverage Permit and a Mixed Beverage Late Hours Permit was submitted to TABC.
The window to protest the application had passed.
According to TABC, protests must be filed on new applications within 15 days from when TABC posts the application as “pending.”
“We didn’t know TABC received the application. There was no record of it ever being filed on the TABC website,” Rolfe said.
Issues finding the permit online
Rolfe said she reached out to TABC to understand why she couldn’t locate the application. In response, TABC told Rolfe it had not received an application for the property’s address, according to email records Rolfe provided to KXAN.
Rolfe told KXAN she referred back to the public notice in the newspaper and realized the address was incorrectly listed as “12307 Ranch Road 2341.”
According to the Burnet County property records, the correct address is “12037 Ranch Road 2341,” which was the address Rolfe said she searched for on TABC’s website.
Rolfe said she then entered the incorrect address in the TABC application status portal and for the first time found the records and saw TABC had already approved the bar’s permit.
KXAN reached out to TABC about the address error. TABC told KXAN it is currently investigating the matter to determine how this happened.
When KXAN asked the owner about the incorrect address, he said this was the first time he was made aware of the error and told KXAN his attorney completed and submitted all the application documents.
KXAN reached out to the attorney as well as TABC to request a copy of the original application to see if the address was submitted correctly. KXAN will update this story once a response is provided.
TABC further told KXAN regardless of the circumstances, the window to protest has lapsed and Rolfe and any other residents who wish to protest will likely have to wait two years, when the bar is required to renew its license.
TABC told KXAN once its investigation is completed, it will likely correct that address, and the permit will be valid.
According to TABC’s public information officer, this is the first time he is aware of something like this happening.