DRIFTWOOD, Texas (KXAN) — A quiet neighborhood has landed itself in the thick of noisy controversy. If you live within Hays County, this is something that could happen to you, too.
A new business, Wenty’s Beer and Wine Yard, has laid some of the groundwork for construction in the Rolling Oaks neighborhood — a residential area just outside of Wimberley.
Hays County said Wenty’s is within its rights, but neighbors are not happy.
“We’re really upset, because if they do open this bar, it’s going to devastate our way of life,” Kimball Lorio said. His front yard is directly across from where Wenty’s is set to be.
Some started a petition asking for 1,000 signatures to stop Wenty’s from building. They’re hoping to show that those who live in Rolling Oaks do not want this bar in the area.
Most are concerned about the traffic a bar will bring to the quiet area.
“We don’t want to hear loud music and cars,” Lorio said.
The road is narrow and winds through the neighborhood. Many fear bar patrons will be drinking and driving, putting families in danger.
There are other worries, especially from residents who live directly behind or up the road from where Wenty’s is being built.
“Just trying to make a buck off a beer, and it’s the wrong place for it,” Mike Price, another neighbor said.
Several neighbors spoke to KXAN Reporter Jala Washington on Wednesday, saying they feel as if Wenty’s hasn’t sought input from people who live there.
“We do not support this business,” Sari Fujimaru, one neighbor said.
Many questioned how a commercial business was allowed to come to a residential space.
Here’s what Hays County’s Development Service Interim Director, Marcus Pacheo said:
“Hays County does not have the authority to implement or enforce any type of zoning or building codes in unincorporated areas of the county.
If a development regardless of type of use meets all of our rules and regulations, specifically our rules for On-Site Sewage Facilities, we have an administrative duty to approve the application.
It is encouraged for anyone developing in a subdivision to research and verify if there are CC&Rs recorded that might dictate what types of development are allowed/not allowed. At that point, it is on the discretion of the Individual Property Owners or Home Owners Association (HOA) to carry out the enforcement.”
KXAN asked Hays County if there are any regulations that can be established, preventing Wenty’s from building.
“When property is subdivided, there is an opportunity for the landowner to burden that property with deed restrictions, including with Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), commonly known as HOA Rules,” Hays County said. “Those sorts of restrictions could address a variety of matters, including property use, by giving the neighboring landowners or HOA a right to assert civil claims for violations of those rules.”
According to the county, all it can do is regulate the permitting and use of an on-site sewage facility. It told KXAN Wenty’s would also need to follow fire code reviewed by the Fire Marshal’s Office.
Wenty’s declined to comment. However, on its Facebook page, it describes its business as “a family oriented beer and wine yard serving local and other interesting craft beers and wines from the Hill Country and beyond. We guarantee there will be fun for the whole family.”