The battle between a business and a neighborhood continues in Bluebonnet Place near Texas Christian University.
The Fort Worth Zoning Commission last week unanimously denied a request to change two single-family residential lots into a “planned development” for use as a parking lot for Old Rip’s Tex-Mex Restaurant. The request will go to the city council on Sept. 14.
In October, Rip’s owner Cy Barcus bought the two homes on Cockrell Avenue after receiving an e-mail from a city staffer that seemed to suggest that replatting the lots into his Old Rip’s property would allow him to build a parking lot there without a zoning change.
After Barcus had torn down one of the homes and started on the other, Bluebonnet Place Neighborhood residents cried foul. Turned out that Barcus needed a zoning change after all. At a July 14 meeting, the zoning board voted 4-3 for a 30-day continuance on the request, in the hopes that the residents and Barcus could come to a compromise.
Some residents turned out at the subsequent Aug. 11 meeting to show support for Barcus, including Leslie Brummett, who had initially opposed the zoning change and parking lot construction.
But other residents are concerned that Barcus isn’t planning to use the lot only for parking. He hosted a tent party on the parking lot during TCU’s Parents Weekend last fall and is already advertising similar parties on football game nights this fall. Though Barcus said he got a tent permit for the Parents Weekend event, city officials said at the zoning meeting that they did not find any such permit in their records.
Clarke Barcus, Cy’s son, has filed an application for a “special exception-non-residential” with the Board of Adjustment to get permission to put up a canopy to host events every Saturday during TCU’s football season on the restaurant’s parking lot. Part of Old Rip’s parking lot is zoned mixed-use, which means it is eligible for such an exception. That request will go to the Board of Adjustment at 10 a.m. on Sept. 1.
John Davis, a member of the Bluebonnet Hills Neighborhood Association, said that the parties will take up the parking space Barcus claims he needs and will still push parking onto the street. Davis said he is also concerned about drunk people wandering around the neighborhood.
However, other residents who attended the zoning meeting last week said Old Rip’s hasn’t brought any more drinking and partying to the TCU area than was there already.
“There is a lot of public drinking. That’s been going on long before this business showed up,” said one Greene Avenue homeowner.