WESLACO, Texas — The City of Weslaco is reminding residents to stay safe this Halloween and avoid prohibited activities. But one local haunted house is refusing to close its doors.
“It’s not a haunted house anymore,” Robert Franklin, Screams from Pleasantview Drive creator said. “It’s private property and it’s something I wanted to do for Halloween.”
Franklin opened Screams from Pleasantview Drive earlier this month to raise money to feed stray dogs. He says they’ve had about 100 visitors so far, and everyone has been following safety protocols as recommended by Centers for Disease Control.
But the city of Weslaco says it has not received the proper permits.
“Right now, we don’t have any haunted houses open in the city of Weslaco,” Joe Pedraza, the city health official said. “None have been approved; none have come in through the city for approval.”
This week city inspectors visited the site to warn Franklin and volunteers that they cannot open to the public as a haunted house, while Franklin says it’s his private property and can do as he pleases.
“We’re still going to accept dog food,” Franklin said. “It’s still going to be open.”
Pedraza says they will be stopping by again tomorrow, when they open, and tells us they do have the authority to shut Screams from Pleasantview Drive down.
“By ordinance, that gives us the right to go into private property — or commercial property — to see what’s going on and what are they selling,” Pedraza said. “If he is operating with people there and charging — the way it sounds on social media — actions will be taken on that property owner.”
Though Franklin says he will be applying for the proper permits, he has no plans to close in the meanwhile and says he is ready to face the city tomorrow.
“We’re going to have all the actors, volunteers everyone in front of the gate linking arms,” Franklin said. “And we’re going to stand together and fight this because it’s good for the community.”
Pedraza encourages the public to look for a work safe plan for any business they enter to ensure it has been approved to operate with proper standards.