Church requesting permit to close purchase of City Lights theatre

A specific use permit request will go before the Hudson Oaks city council Thursday night from HighRidge Church in order to close the purchase of City Lights Hudson Oaks movie theatre.

“When it comes to a religious institution such as a church, they have [the] right to go into any zoning. A city can regulate zoning as to what users can go in there whether it be commercial or residential and that’s how we kind of regulate and separate residential from commercial so that the community builds as they want,” Hudson Oaks City Administrator Sterling Naron said. “For a church they can by right go into both commercial and residential, so in this case they’re looking at going into 1000 Cinema [Drive], which is the City Lights movie theater and it’s in a commercially zoned area. Under our city code it requires a specific use permit in the process that they’re following now.”

City Lights Hudson Oaks is owned by Schulman Theatres, which also owns Film Alley in Weatherford.

"We were approached not too long ago about a potential sale in Hudson Oaks and it was something that we pursued because it was in our best interest. We’ve been a proud member of Parker County for 13 years when we bought what was then Weatherford Cinema 10," Vice President of Schulman Theatres Jacob Schulman said in a video statement posted on Facebook. "Hudson Oaks has been a key component to our success and our growth as a company, and the decision to close is a difficult decision for us to make. At this particular time we feel like everything is going to move forward and that means we’re going to close that facility."

HighRidge Church Inc. has locations in Mineral Wells, Fort Worth, Graham and Longview. The specific use permit application was submitted to the city on June 11.

“It is anticipated that there will be no outside structural or foundational changes affecting the property other than to change the signage,” according to a document from Whitaker Chalk, a law firm representing HighRidge Church. “In order to close on the purchase of this property the permit will need to be considered and voted on by no later than July 23, 2020.”

According to the Hudson Oaks council agenda report, city staff recommends approval of the specific use permit with conditions for the applicant: To include a landscape plan that meets the current city ordinance landscape regulations and require the church to make no negative impact to any future alcohol permit applications submitted by adjacent property owners. An establishment intending to sell alcohol must be 300 feet from a church, private or public school or public hospital, according to the city’s code and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

A required public hearing will be held on the permit request followed by action from the council.

The Hudson Oaks city council will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at city hall. 

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