In an effort to attract more restaurants, the Killeen City Council will make it easier for them to sell alcohol.

Previously, restaurants coming to Killeen had to apply and get approval for RC-1 zoning before they could legally sell alcohol. Now, the city will waive the zoning requirement.

A majority of council members endorsed the change during a workshop meeting Tuesday to make the city more competitive with neighboring cities.

Ray Shanaa, the city’s director of planning, said requiring restaurants to take an extra step hurts Killeen.

“This puts us at a disadvantage when competing with the other cities around us, Harker Heights in particular, because they allow restaurants to serve alcohol by right as long as the zoning district allows,” he said.

Shanaa said over the past several years the council had 20 requests for RC-1 zoning; of those, 19 were approved and one was withdrawn by the applicant.

“It will really make a difference,” he said. “When restaurants are looking at Killeen and they see it’s an uncertain thing, then they just say, ‘We don’t want to mess with it.’”

Councilman Jonathan Okray, who opposed the change, said “ignorance is no excuse.”

Councilman Steve Harris also voted against the change.

The change will allow restaurants zoned B-3 or higher to serve alcohol by right, rather than having to request additional zoning.

Shanaa said the change will reduce approval time for restaurants and encourage more “fine dining” establishments to open in Killeen.

Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone said she thinks the change is “a wonderful idea.”

Contact Natalie Stewart at or 254-501-7555

(3) comments


[thumbdown] aqui en Killeen no hace falta ni rum ni cervezas!! lo que hace falta es mas restauranes con diferentes variedades de comida , ya esta bueno de traer restauranes de hot dogs or hamburguers, estamos en un pueblo military!! ya bastante problemas hay con alcohol!! me parece de muy mal gusto que esten aprobando o tratando mas negocios con alcohol solo para atrer mas "public"? eso no es algo de ser responsible con el publico. Somos hermanos,hijos,padres,madres que amamos los nuestros para estar pensando en atraer mas "problemas" como lo es el alcohol!! a nuestra ciudad ..el que no quiera venir a Killeen por que no hay rum/licor pues que se quede en su casa!!.quizas entonces la gente nos busque porque se puede disfrutar a plenitud sin que hayan borrachos ni conflictos y se disfrute con verdadera Buena atmosfera. alguien ha oido del restaurant Rainforest café? macaroni grill?,papadeaux? ahy tantos y aqui en killeen con los mismos que tienen hh y cc ! Vamos a ser los primeros y vamos a empezar a atrer mejores restauranes porque si seguimos asi dentro de un par de aÑos esta ciudad solo va a ser famoso por sus bares y el alto nivel de personas con problemas alcoholicas!! pensemos en la juventud que tanto tenemos por medio de los militares. salgan a la calle y preguntenlen que cosas quisieran ver aqui? besides bingo and clubs pero por favor!!! no pensemos en revenues con el alcohol! que solo va a traer dolor y angustias y quizas demandas el uno al otro por querrer tener mas permiso al licor vamos a demostrarle a los jovenes y ciudades cerca a nosotros que hay diversion y entretenimiento fuera del alcohol!! y tengamos pensamientos mas positivos y de mejor usos que el "bienestar" que segun estas personas creen pueden traer esos supuestos permisos!! ps preguntenlen a madd los "beneficios" del alcohol!!!.es bien lamentable como hay gente que le pueden ver algun lado positive al alcohol.!


Did anybody else notice the reporter's quote of councilman Okray made no sense at all? I mean, I'm glad that he disapproved but what did that quote pertain to. There was no conceptual setup for his statement. I encourage the reporter to put his comments into context with the story next time because, I have no idea what prospective restaurant owners are ignorant of. We need to know the whole story behind the whole quote, otherwise, there could be misinterpretations of his comments.


@ Councilman Jonathan Okray, who opposed the change, said “ignorance is no excuse.” Councilman Steve Harris also voted against the change.

Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone said she thinks the change is “a wonderful idea.”

There is an old saying where I'm from;
If you have to have a drink of liquor to have a good time. What's that saying about you?
I'm glad to see Councilmen Harris and Okray must have heard the same saying.

If someone needs to drink bad enough there are many bars and restaurants that already serve liquor. They can even go to one of the many liquor stores that's been approved and pick up a whole bottle for themselves.

Instead of Mr. Shanaa stating that Killeen isn't able to compete with Harker Hts in attracting business',
I think he should take into consideration ,the reason many business' don't want to come into the Killeen area is because of the High Crime rate including murders that have happened, unsolved murders.

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