Court delays hearing on bar

December 20, 2017 GMT

BROWNSVILLE — Cameron County commissioners postponed a hearing yesterday in which they were set to hear an appeal from a South Padre Island attorney whose application to operate a “topless bar” on his beach property was denied by the Sheriff’s Office.

At the center of courtroom debate was whether the commissioners court can subpoena witnesses on behalf of Larry Polsky, whose plans for the sexually oriented business were rejected in November. He filed for an appeal with the commissioners court Dec. 8.

It’s a question Juan A. Gonzalez, chief legal counsel to the commissioners court, said neither Texas law nor court precedent provided guidance on how to proceed. Nor is it evident what recourse commissioners would have if a subpoenaed witness failed to appear.

Polsky’s witness list includes people in McAllen, Austin and outside Texas.

The commissioners court approved a motion to allow out-of-county witnesses to be subpoenaed by certified mail, and in-county witnesses will be served by constables.

The issue of how to handle witnesses who don’t appear will be handled during the rescheduled hearing Jan. 8, County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr., said.

In the rejection letter to Polsky, Sheriff Omar Lucio said Polsky failed to notify all “interested parties” about his plans for a sexually oriented business. Additionally, the commissioners court determined in September the nearby beach is a public park, making Polsky’s assurance that his club would be at least 1,500 feet away from any public park “materially incorrect.”