Exclusive: Planet K facing several hurdles with city of Bryan, Texas A&M

Published: Aug. 22, 2018 at 11:24 PM CDT
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If someone said a business selling pornographic material and drug paraphernalia was opening up next door, what would you do?

That's the real-life scenario playing out on the corner of a very busy Bryan intersection, and some residents are trying to stop it from happening.

If you're a daily driver on Texas Avenue in Bryan, you no doubt have seen the colorful mural sitting in the shadows of the Tejas Center next door to Long John Silver's.

On the outside, the paintings appear to be larger-than-life post cards marketing Bryan, College Station, and Texas A&M, but it's the stuff the store could be selling on the inside that's got neighbors worried.

"It's novelty merchandise that's not zoned for this area of Bryan," said Elliott Head, owner of Paradise Valley Landscapes.

For more than a year, Head has watched workers set up the Planet K business, often after-hours and on weekends. Right now, he and other residents and nearby business owners are urging city hall to strike down any and all permits for the Austin-based business.

"This business may be well-suited for Austin, Texas. Hats off to them," he said.

To give you a better idea of what this place is and what it sells, KBTX traveled to Bee Cave, a small town outside of Austin that went to court to try and keep a Planet K out of its community. After a long, legal fight, the city settled, and the head shop now sits in the center of town.

News 3's Rusty Surette went inside the business and found rooms with pornography and adult items we can't show on TV. There were shelves of drug paraphernalia, books on how to grow marijuana and just about all the supplies necessary to do it.

"I don't think the culture of our community here wants it. I don't consider it necessarily wholesome," said Head.

The city of Bryan says the business is still in the process of submitting paperwork, but KBTX has confirmed the property isn't zoned for some types of merchandise sold at Planet K stores. Nearby are schools, a day care center, Church and residential homes.

"We don't need to go through the permit process. The city can just say no," said Head. "We have Woody's in town, but Woody's is in a properly zoned location. Planet K isn't zoned for that."

Planet K has several locations scattered across San Antonio and Austin. Its corporate office has yet to respond to our request for comment. The city of Bryan also declined to speak to us on camera about the matter, but a spokeswoman says city hall is aware of the neighbor's concerns, and they're working to address them.

It's unclear what the next step in the permitting process is at this point.

A local employee told KBTX on the phone Wednesday that the business is in the process of hiring employees, but is also waiting on the okay from the city of Bryan to open its doors to the public.

In the meantime, the artwork on the outside of the business has caught the attention of attorneys at Texas A&M.

In addition to city landmarks in both Bryan and College Station, the artwork features the Texas A&M logo, Reveille, and an Aggie ring.

KBTX asked A&M officials if any of this violated the trademark or licensing rules.

A spokeswoman says the university is addressing the matter with legal counsel, but can't expand on that due to pending legal action.