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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The Feds Will Investigate Dallas County's Use of AIDS Funds, Even If the County Won't Admit It

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The Dallas County Health Department could be in big trouble with their higher-ups in an reported upcoming federal investigation.
The Dallas County Health and Human Services Department has had a rough week. First, the state cracked down on the department for allegedly falsifying county STI records. The manager of HIV-STI division, Lashonda Worthey, has been fired, and the Texas Department of State Health Services is set to launch a criminal investigation into the department.

Now a federal official says the department is facing an additional investigation for alleged misuse of funds for the Ryan White/AIDS program in Dallas, the Ryan White Planning Council. The federally funded program is intended to pay medical costs for HIV-positive county residents who are unable to fund their own treatment. Several million dollars are sent from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) into the county program every year.

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The Fight Over CityPlace Sam's Club Zoning Isn't Over After All

Categories: Development

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Attorney Alex More speaks to reporters following the City Plan Commission meeting on Thursday.
Under the city's development code, the proper time for opponents to voice their concerns about the Sam's Club proposed next to CityPlace was a year ago this month, before the City Plan Commission and City Council unanimously approved a zoning change for the property to allow a 100,000-square-foot warehouse store.

That neighbors generally weren't aware of that possibility, having understood the project as West Village-style collection of shops and restaurants, was neither here not there. And so, when they arrived at the Plan Commission Thursday to speak out against the development plan, they were stymied with a terse declaration from a city attorney: "This is a ministerial function of the Plan Commission. This is not a public hearing."

But the matter isn't quite as settled as it seemed. Just after the Plan Commission voted to delay a decision on the development plan for 60 days, Commissioner Bobby Abtahi slipped a letter to David Cossum, the city's interim director of development.

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Dallas Plan Commission Punts CityPlace Sam's Club Decision to July

Categories: Development

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A Sam's Club opponent talks to TV cameras after the City Plan Commission's vote to delay a decision by two months.
Sam's Club will have to wait an extra couple of months before it plants a 140,000-square-foot outpost next to CityPlace. So decided the City Plan Commission, which this afternoon moved consideration of the development plan until July 22.

It was a victory for neighbors, albeit a tiny one. As we mentioned yesterday, the zoning was quietly slipped into place a year ago. The main focus of the Plan Commission's deliberations today was whether public comments could be accepted when it was serving a "ministerial function," i.e. approving a development plan that complies with existing zoning.

The answer from city legal staff and Plan Commission Chair Gloria Tarpley was no. Instead, Tarpley called on the several dozen neighbors in the audience -- about half wearing the day's uniform of a red T-shirt, more wearing "No Mega Store" stickers," one clad in a bike helmet -- to stand in a show of opposition.

Three business types at the back stood in support.

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CityPlace Neighbors Are Rallying to Fight Planned Sam's Club, But It's Probably Too Late

Categories: Development

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Neighbors are, at this very moment, rallying opposition to the Sam's Club that Trammell Crow plans to build at CityPlace. They've launched the inevitable Change.org petition. They've booked Councilman Adam Medrano for a community meeting tonight. They are scouring the final development plan the City Plan Commission is scheduled to vote on tomorrow, hoping to find something that can derail the project.

None of it will do any good.

Sure, neighbors may be able to wring some concessions from Trammell Crow, a few extra trees here, a modestly rearranged traffic mitigation plan there, but the chances of killing the project are essentially nil.

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Trammell Crow Wants to Build a Sam's Club at CityPlace

Categories: Development

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Wikipedia
Cheer up, Dallas. Yes, your hometown newspaper just completely snubbed you with its Best Neighborhoods list, and, yes, the chances that The Dallas Morning News will ever include any place south of Plano are close to nil, but there is hope, a development on the horizon that just might thrust Dallas back into respectability, or at least the Morning News version of it.

To wit, CityPlace is getting a Sam's Club.

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