If there's one thing Unfair Park has taken away from the high-stakes civic lesson that's been the Cityplace Sam's Club case thus far, it's this: The notices sent to homeowners telling them about proposed zoning changes in their neighborhoods are terrible.
Drumguy8800 Downtown Dallas as seen from Lake Cliff Park
The notices are meant to let people who own property within 200 feet of a site up for rezoning know about the change, in case the neighbors object to, say, a big honking warehouse store in their 'hood. In practice, the city's complexly layered levels of special zoning make the notices opaque and essentially meaningless. Mixed-use zoning, for example, sounds like just the thing many people say they want: dense, walkable outcroppings of businesses and homes that reflect their neighborhoods. Sometimes that is what it means, but thanks to Byzantine mechanisms like planned development districts and specific use permit waivers it can also mean a 130,000-square-foot discount Sam's Club.More »