Battle over bar's future location in Upper Kirby

By Syan Rhodes - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - A popular Houston-area chain wants to expand into an Upper Kirby neighborhood. But some homeowners, mosque-goers and members of a local non-profit group say no way.

It's just a small sign on a plot of land, but folks who live work and pray in the Upper Kirby neighborhood say it spells big trouble.

Eastside Street is the kind of place Jan Schaefer can walk her dog in peace day or night.

"It's pretty quiet, especially after 5:00. It's really quiet," said Shaefer.

But that could soon change.

"I hope we don't get a bar on this street," she said.

Little Woodrow's wants to open its seventh location at the spot. Two weeks ago they posted a sign announcing their intent to apply for a permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and putting neighbors on notice.

The plans include a 5,000 square foot building with a 2,000 square foot outdoor patio. Too noisy say homeowners at the next door Bammel Townhomes.

"We're not opposed to progress. We just don't want a bar outside our bedrooms," said Steve Bolton, with the Bammel Townhomes Homeowner Association.

State law prohibits alcohol sales within 300 feet of a church. The new Little Woodrow's is more than 500 feet away, but still too close for folks who attend the Islamic Society of Houston Mosque.

At Dress for Success Houston there are concerns that more crowds could mean more crime.

"Just for street location, safety and security of the women we serve we're all female staff, as well as all female volunteers," said Lauren Levicki Courville, with Dress For Success Houston.

They've all filed a protest with the TABC to stop the bar. But Little Woodrow's owner Danny Evans told Local 2 he just wants to be a good neighbor and feels the bar would enhance the area, telling us it would attract an upscale clientele and be a "positive place with great curb appeal and be a nice part of the community."

A community Schaefer says doesn't need any enhancements.

"I want to keep it the way it is," she said.

TABC says they won't begin to investigate neighbors' protests until they've officially received the permit application from Little Woodrow's.

Evans and the group that owns the land say they plan to increase the height of a fence around the proposed bar at the request of the townhome owners and they plan to meet with other concerned parties very soon. The homeowners say their next step is Houston City Council.

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