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Local raspa stand takes legal action against city of Mission

An embattled raspa stand filed a temporary restraining order against the city last week, accusing the city of forcing it to lose business.

Snowball Express LLC, which has two locations in Mission, filed the restraining order Feb. 15, the latest in the nearly year-long battle between both entities as the raspa stand tries to stay open past its approved 10 p.m. closing time.

20180427 SnowballExpressnight“The city is discriminating us because first they told us that we only have a permit till 10 p.m. and then we reapplied and they denied us telling the neighbors were complaining,” owner Elgin Xavier said in a statement. “They made decisions to close our drive thru, apart from that that they were sending cops to the business and forcefully wanted to close us. Employees always got scared and they made a scene out of it.”

With the restraining order, signed by 139th District Judge Roberto “Bobby” Flores, neither parties can take any action until a hearing set for Monday, March 4.

A request for comment from the city’s legal department was directed to City Manager Randy Perez, who declined to comment due to the pending litigation.

Mission Planning and Zoning Director Jaime Acevedo simply said he disagreed with the TRO and wouldn’t comment further.

The restraining order comes after the city granted a conditional use permit for the raspa stands last May to close at 10 p.m.

As previously reported, city police and the city planning department came to both locations within one weekend in late March 2018 at around 10:30 p.m. and forced the stand to close for the night with a line of customers waiting for their orders.

According to Acevedo, the closures occurred because the raspa stand was in violation of its permit signed by Xavier that stated both locations wouldn’t extend their hours past 10 p.m.

“Whenever they’ve reapplied for permits, they’ve kept the time the same and we went over to their locations over the weekend because they were staying open until at least 1:30 a.m. and we were receiving noise complaints from neighbors,” Acevedo said.

The city’s planning department allowed Snowball Express to remain open past 10 p.m. temporarily until the city council voted on whether or not to extend the business’ hours. Citing several complaints from neighbors, they ultimately denied the extension last May.

Xavier said that due to the lack of support from the city, and the police presence in his businesses, he feels as if Snowball Express is being singled out.

“We have equal rights as any other business like Whataburger or McDonalds to be able to work our hours and get fair treatment from the city to operate our drive thru,” Xavier stated. “The city should not close a business if one neighbor complains that she can’t sleep.”

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