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Judge Denies City Of McKinney Request To Close Restaurant

McKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) - The City of McKinney turned up the heat Monday on a popular restaurant that it wants shut down.

Attorneys formally asked a judge to close Hanks Texas Grill because of the dozens of fire and safety code violations it has been issued, all of which the restaurant owner claims are baseless.

With beer banners, flags and hanging decorations, Hank's Texas Grill looks like a lot of restaurants in McKinney. But according to the city, those decorations are among the 80 fire and safety code violations issued to the restaurant. Another of those violations -- faded parking lot striping.

Owner Ron Reynolds believes the city is making up reasons to shut down his honkytonk and is using overly aggressive police patrols to do it.

"It's very upsetting to hear they want to close our restaurant," he said.

Reynolds was in court again Monday seeking a permanent injunction to keep city officials and even police and firefighters off his property.

Attorneys for the City of McKinney argued that it's illegal for businesses to sue municipalities over code violations, and asked the judge to close the restaurant.

"We're just moving forward with our case and hope to get it done as soon as we can," City Attorney Mark Houser said.

The judge denied the city's request and put off a hearing over Hank's future until next week.

"I would prefer to have it resolved as soon as possible but that's between the lawyers that legal moves that they are making," Reynolds said.

Earlier this month the court granted Reynolds a restraining order against the McKinney Police Department and others. Today the judge ruled that the temporary restraining order would stay in place for another week.

But the judge also granted the police department's request to once again allow officers to patrol the restaurant parking lot.

The latter ruling is one that has Hank's owner concerned. He referred to recently shot videotape that shows police officers congregating outside the restaurant, in an effort he says is meant to scare away customers.

While the city denies the owner's allegations of harassment, officers did enter the restaurant two weeks ago to investigate a bomb threat this despite the restraining order.

For 10 years the restaurant has been in a high profile location, in a city that's changed a lot in the last decade, which are some of reasons the owner believes he's being forced out.

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