HARKER HEIGHTS — The city is suing a local bar for allegedly violating zoning laws.
Harker Heights recently filed a suit against the owner of Private Mic’s Karaoke, a bar and pool hall at 116 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd. in Harker Heights. The city is seeking damages of $100,000 or less for breaking zoning laws.
The city names the two owners of the bar, Jong S. Yi and Isphani Hosein, as defendants in the suit.
According to court documents filed Monday, the Harker Heights City Council granted a zoning variance for the business in May 2010 in order to allow for the sale of alcoholic beverages.
In May, Yi applied to rezone the strip mall office next to Private Mic’s to allow for expansion. On July 10, the council unanimously denied the application, the lawsuit states.
However, on March 14, a city code inspector determined that the owners had expanded the bar without permission. The owners contend they have not violated any laws, the lawsuit states.
The city is asking the 169th District Court to shut down operations at the bar indefinitely, believing that the owners will continue to operate illegally in the unzoned portion of the bar.
Burk Roberts, attorney for Harker Heights in the suit, stated in an email that the $100,000 figure comes from a recent change in civil law where expressed damages are divided into “brackets” in order to make smaller lawsuits move more quickly.
The $100,000 and lower bracket is the lowest dollar amount in the tiers, documents from the Supreme Court of Texas state.
When contacted, the owners of Private Mic’s said they expanded their business after the business next door closed down. They rented the office and began making preparations for creating a room with four new pool tables.
Yi said he was given no reason when his request to rezone the 688-square-foot area was declined.
“Yeah, I break the law, but I didn’t hurt anybody,” Yi said. “I don’t see any reason why they would say no to me.”
Hosein said that without the expansion, they may go out of business.