Major Dallas Rezoning Being Undertaken with Unusual Transparency

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Drumguy8800
Downtown Dallas as seen from Lake Cliff Park
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.

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.

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Temporary Injunction Denied in Cityplace Sam's Club Case

Categories: Development

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Trammell Crow
Once more, with feeling.

After the conclusion of arguments that started Friday morning, District Judge Phyllis Lister Brown ruled against a neighborhood group seeking a temporary injunction aimed at stopping construction of a 130,000-square-foot Sam's Club store near the intersection of Haskell Avenue and U.S. 75.

The decision means the city can issue building permits for builder Trammel Crow while a lawsuit challenging a zoning that allows the store goes forward.


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Round Two of Sam's Club Legal Fight Will Last Into Monday

Categories: Development

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Trammell Crow
This site was the subject of much legal wrangling Friday (again).

The second act of the East Village Association's battle to reset the clock on a zoning change that would allow Trammell Crow to build a proposed 130,000-square-foot Sam's Club near Haskell Avenue and U.S. 75 will not be resolved until at least Monday afternoon, after Judge Phyllis Lister Brown was forced to end proceedings on Friday because of time constraints.

Despite being allotted four hours on the 162nd District Court's calendar, the temporary injunction hearing still has some way to go, with both the city of Dallas and Trammell Crow yet to present their sides of the case.

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The Next Round of the Cityplace Sam's Club Fight Starts Today

Categories: Development

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Trammell Crow
We are going to use this image for every single story we write about this damn thing.

Just about two weeks ago, all seemed lost for a group of residents who were upset about a Trammell Crow development plan that included building of a Sam's Club near Haskell Avenue and U.S. 75. Zoning for the development had already been approved, so the City Plan Commission's July 10 signing off on the project was a mere formality.

Before that vote could take place though, the East Village Association, a group representing the residents, sued the city of Dallas and Trammell Crow. The association tried, and failed, to stop the commission from voting, but it succeeded July 11 in obtaining a temporary restraining order against the city's issuing building permits for the development.

That's where the case has sat for two weeks, waiting for today's temporary injunction hearing. Should the injunction be approved, no permits will be issued for the duration of the trial to determine the validity of the zoning; should it fail, building could begin before the trial's conclusion.

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Cedar Hill Could Use Three Walmarts, According to Walmart

Categories: Development

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Google Maps
Walmart is considering putting a Walmart here, but promises it will be more sustainable.
How many Walmarts does a city need to thrive? People living in the hip circle of neighborhoods surrounding downtown Dallas say we have enough Walmarts, Walmart-affiliated stores and other big boxes to sustain us and it's time to consider some development that isn't a giant box and acres of ashphalt. Residents in the neighborhood near Haskell Avenue and Central Expressway recently won a restraining order to temporarily stop Trammell Crow from building a 130,000-square-foot Sam's Club nearby, in what was supposed to be a walkable development called the East Village.

Eighteen miles away from the proposed East Village development rests the suburb of Cedar Hill, a town with a lot of nice trees and chain stores. There's a Half Price books, a SuperTarget and a Walmart, along with several Walmarts just outside city limits, ensuring that Cedar Hill residents will never go hungry for super savings ever again.

But that's not enough. Walmart is now considering putting two other Walmarts in Cedar Hill.

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Judge Restrains City from Issuing Building Permits for Cityplace Development

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Trammell Crow
Still talking about this place? Still talking about this place.
District Judge Emily Tobolowsky issued an order Friday blocking, at least for now, developer Trammell Crow's plan to build a 130,000-square-foot Sam's Club in Cityplace, just north downtown.

Residents in the neighborhood near Haskell Avenue and Central Expressway won a temporary restraining order that prevents the city from issuing building permits for the East Village retail development that includes the warehouse store. They'll be back in court in two weeks to seek an injunction that would put the project on hold until a trial decides the zoning issue.

Members of the East Village Association, a group representing area residents, claim Trammell Crow misled them about the company's plans for the project, and neighbors weren't aware of the Sam's Club until not long before the Dallas Plan Commission was set to approve the company's development plan. Neighbors say they expected something similar to West Village across the freeway, with smaller retail shops and restaurants.

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CityPlace Sam's Approved, Until Court Hearing Tomorrow, At Least

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Trammell Crow
The development in question.

As expected, the Dallas City Plan Commission voted this afternoon to approve the Trammell Crow backed plan for the area surrounding U.S. 75 and Haskell Avenue. The plan, for a development that's been labeled the East Village, was presented to neighbors as being for a walkable, diverse multi-use outcropping. To an extent, that's what it is, but there was also, buried deep in the planning documents, a zoning change that would allow for a 100,000-plus-square-foot big box store, later confirmed to be a 130,000-square-foot Sam's Club.

Once they became aware of the Sam's, residents mobilized to prevent it. They gathered 1,300 signatures on a petition and urged the commission to reopen the zoning case for the development at a meeting last month.

See also: Dallas Plan Commissioners Reluctantly Allow Zoning for Cityplace Sam's Club to Stay

None of that affected what happened today. Since the zoning stands, there was nothing the commission could do but approve the plan, which it did 11 to 4.

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Residents Seek Temporary Restraining Order Against CityPlace Sam's Club

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Trammell Crow

East Village Association, a group representing residents who live near the proposed East Village development, has filed a request for a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction against the city of Dallas and the Plan Commission to block a zoning change that would allow construction of a 130,000-square-foot Sam's Club.

Residents say they were misled throughout the process that led to the potential approval of the plan backed by developer Trammell Crow. The zoning changes, they say, "[are] the product of a fraud upon the people and the city of Dallas."

Plans for the discount mega-retailer were never discussed at community meetings hosted by Crow to talk about the development; zoning change notices provided by the city failed to note the full extent of the potential development, according to the residents.

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Here's What One of the Urbanists at the New Cities Summit Actually Thinks About Dallas

Categories: Development

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Peraltita

The few parts of the vaunted New Cities Summit that actually dealt with Dallas left Unfair Park feeling a bit nonplussed. We were glad Dallas was selected to host the conference, of course. Anything that brings together a bunch of really smart people to discuss pressing urban issues like density, sustainability and building more caring cities is fine by us. It's just that nothing that happened told us anything about where our city is and where it's headed. Maybe that wasn't the point of the summit, but we were curious nonetheless.

See also: New Cities Summit Dallas Panel Is Boring, Not Particularly Helpful

Aaron Renn, an urbanist who attended the conference, wrote a two-part essay about his New Cities experience and has written extensively about cities for publications such as The Guardian, City Journal and Forbes. We called him up to get his impressions of Dallas, what the city does well, what it can do better and why dealing with entrenched car culture doesn't have to be as hard as it seems.

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Dallas Plan Commissioners Reluctantly Allow Zoning for Cityplace Sam's Club to Stay

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Trammell Crow
Life isn't fair. It's why kids starve. It's why puppies suffer. It's why the people who live next to Cityplace will soon also be living next to a 130,000-square-foot Sam's Club.

Dallas' City Plan Commission confirmed this afternoon that yep, the big box Trammell Crow has planned for the corner of Carroll Avenue and Central Expressway, much to the chagrin of neighbors, is in fact a done deal. All that's left is for commissioners to put their rubber stamp on the final development plan, which should happen next month.

Neighbors, most clad in red shirts and "No Mega Store" buttons, were optimistic entering Thursday's hearing that the CPC would vote to reopen the zoning debate, which could undo the decision it made, apparently unwittingly, to allow an enormous big-box store so close to the city center.

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