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Austin Parks and Rec board again rejects proposal to sell alcohol at Zilker Café

In late June, the board voted against moving forward with a proposal to allow alcohol sales at the café. The board voted again on Sept. 28.

AUSTIN, Texas — The controversial proposal to allow alcohol sales at Zilker Café has been shot down once again.

According to Community Impact, the Austin Parks and Recreation Board voted 8-1 on Sept. 28 to recommend the Austin Planning Commission not move forward with the proposal. This comes after the board unanimously decided earlier this month to reconsider the request for a permit because two members were absent and three seats were vacant when the board voted on the issue in June. Those absences called into question the legitimacy of the vote. 

Back in late June, the board also recommended that the planning commission not move forward with the proposal that would allow alcohol sales at Zilker Café.

The café, located near Zilker Park and Barton Springs Pool, opened between 1959 and 1960 and served snacks to park and pool visitors for decades. It was shut down in January 2016 due to poor conditions and code violations, but the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) has been working to renovate it.

The City said the rehabilitation of Zilker Café was completed earlier this year, but during the construction close-out process, the PARD realized that a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) would be required for the café to sell beer and wine.

The PARD began seeking a CUP to amend the zoning of Zilker Café so that beer and wine could be sold in the defined vendor area. The café would have also needed to apply for and obtain a license through the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to sell beer and wine.

Some local conservations had expressed concern about the possibility that alcohol might be sold so close to Zilker Park and Barton Springs Pool. A representative with the Save Barton Creek Association told KVUE in June that pollution and inebriated swimmers were concerns. 

He also said approving alcohol sales would increase liability to the City of Austin if inebriated patrons are "diving into the shallow parts and engaging in other dangerous behavior" and that approving the permit could set a bad precedent for monetizing alcohol at other City and Travis County parks.

WATCH: Austin's Parks and Recreation Board rejects alcohol sales at Zilker Cafe


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