McAllen building officials now able to suspend, revoke city-issued permits
As more local entrepreneurs are looking to start gaming rooms, McAllen city leaders on Monday made clarifications to their International Building Code, giving them more wiggle room to revoke business permits.
"At anytime should that private gaming room be deemed to be illegal, then McAllen has the authority to revoke the certificate of occupancy,” said Austin Stevenson, McAllen’s assistant city attorney. “Or if it were pending at the time, they can suspend the permit until it's resolved."
Law enforcement deeming a game room illegal would include violations such as gambling or drug use, and when it comes to handling the case, McAllen police would step in and work with code enforcement. If any illegal activity is found, they would notify the property owner to either resolve the issue or suspend or revoke the permit.
Depending on the violation, the business owner is given about 30-90 days to resolve the issue.
Violations of the International Building Code include plumbing, electrical infrastructure, how wide the doors are, and how many light fixtures to make sure the building is safe.
When it comes to game rooms, some wonder if the city revoking the owner’s certificate of occupancy could be a conflict with the District Attorney’s criminal process.
"I think the confusion was whether or not we were trying to declare something criminal and infringe on the DA when that's, of course, not what we're looking to do,” said Stevenson. “We want to work with the county and the district attorney's office to enforce the laws and make sure the public is safe while we're also being business friendly in McAllen."