The Hudson Oaks city council approved a specific use permit for the purchase of City Lights movie theater by HighRidge Church Thursday night in a 3-2 vote.
Marty Schrantz, place 3, Tom Fitzpatrick, place 4, and Daniel Cross, place 5, voted to approve the standard use permit while Brian Lixey, mayor pro-tem, and Tom Marquardt, place 1, voted against.
“[The council] welcomes HighRidge Church with open arms as being part of the community. I think the concern was the location of the building being in the entertainment district,” Hudson Oaks City Administrator Sterling Naron said. “The master plan for Hudson Oaks has that area with Splash Kingdom, the movie theater, Pathfinder Brewery, as the entertainment area for the city and so that kind of puts [the church] right in the middle of all the action.”
Naron said religious institutions may 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,” Naron said. “Under our city code it requires a specific use permit in the process that they’re following now.”
Schulman Theatres, a family-owned company, purchased the former Weatherford Cinema 10 building in 2007 and it became City Lights. Schulman Theatres Vice President Jacob Schulman said HighRidge Church approached them about purchasing the theater at the beginning of the year.
“To be honest, whenever it was presented to us, we weren’t really marketing it. We weren’t looking to sell per se, it was just kind of a fortunate circumstance where they were looking to acquire and we were in a position where it made financial sense,” Schulman said. “It’s bittersweet. We’re a small business, so losing one-sixth of your locations is a big deal, but again, it just makes sense financially.”
The Schulman family will still remain a part of Parker County with its location in Weatherford — Film Alley.
A required public hearing was held at Thursday night’s Hudson Oaks city council meeting, at which no residents spoke during.
“All parties were there [Thursday] night, including Jacob, HighRidge Church, and attorneys from surrounding landowners, all of which agreed with the staff recommendation,” Naron said. “The conditions are they need to meet the requirements for city landscaping and they are not to affect the adjacent property owners’ ability [to sell alcohol] — the TABC requirement 109.33, which is the 300 feet requirement. They also can’t change the front door because that affects the measurement of the 300 feet. When they submitted their SUP it was obviously a concern for the city, so we measured that. Where the door currently sits to date does not affect any adjacent property landowners.”
According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code 109.33, a commissioners court may enact regulations prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages within 300 feet of a church, public or private school or public hospital.
Schulman said he doesn’t have a date on when City Lights will officially close.
“There’s still particulars with the deal we’re working through, but we’ll for sure make an announcement,” Schulman said. “The time in Hudson Oaks was great. We’ve always enjoyed being a part of Parker County and Hudson Oaks was always one of our top producing, if not the top producing, at certain times in our circuit, so we enjoyed having it.”
Naron said the city is happy to partner with HighRidge Church
“I think from a city standpoint we’re happy they’re coming into the city,” Naron said. “They’ve done great things in the city of Fort Worth and we’re happy to partner with them, and hopefully do some great things in the community of Hudson Oaks.”