The Sugar Land City Council recently approved the city’s first overlay district, an Alcoholic Beverage On-Premise Overlay District at First Colony Mall. You may be asking yourself, what is an overlay district – don’t worry, we did too. An overlay district is a special zoning district overlaid on one or more standard zoning districts that impose additional standards and requirements that may be more or less restrictive than those of the underlying district(s). Communities often use overlay districts as a tool to implement targeted regulations.
Due to zoning regulations, establishments that derived over 50% of their revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption were prohibited at First Colony Mall, greatly limiting the types of businesses it could attract. The approval of the Alcoholic Beverage On-Premise Overlay District will now permit these types of establishments within the overlay boundary. So why is this beneficial to our community? This move for increased flexibility will support the redevelopment of the mall into a retail and entertainment destination for the city. This is a huge win for both residents and businesses who have expressed desires for more entertainment options throughout the city. However, it’s important to note the overlay district does not mean mall patrons can walk around with open containers – any outdoor areas where alcohol is consumed will have boundaries as required by the TABC. (so alcohol will not be able to go beyond that pre-established boundary).
“We are excited about this new overlay district,” said Lauren Fehr, Assistant Director of Planning and Development Services. “This will create an even more vibrant atmosphere at First Colony Mall and further activate the Town Center Regional Activity Center.”