Kip's Big Boy Is Back on Abrams Road

Categories: Neighborhoods

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Earlier this year, Kip's Big Boy statue made his Abrams Road debut, replacing the extraordinarily creepy baby Buddha statue at the center of White Rock Landscaping owner Gary Isett's Cowboy star-shaped flower bed.

The iconic hamburger slinger's cameo proved to be brief. Within days, city of Dallas code inspectors issued a decree that the 7-foot statue was in violation of city ordinance.

"Basically, the violation was [the statue] was not within the setback rules," code compliance director Jimmy Martin said at the time, adding that it also violated visibility rules that govern what can be placed on corner lots.

So, Isett dusted off the creepy Buddha and moved Big Boy into his backyard.

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The Opposition to New High-End Apartments in Richardson is the Primal Scream of Suburbia

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A rendering of the planned Palisades development, the stake through Canyon Creek's heart.
In Richardson, along the booming Central Expressway corridor, architecture firm Good Fulton and Farrell and developer JP Partners have teamed up on the Palisades project, a large mixed-use development they plan to put on 58 mostly vacant acres across the freeway from DART's Galatyn Park light rail station.

The folks who live in the adjacent Canyon Creek and Prairie Creek neighborhoods are, for the most part, fine with the 1.5 million square feet of office space and the 200,000 square feet set aside for restaurant and retail. They're even OK with the 65 town homes planned for the site and, to a lesser extent, the 250 condos.

Their beef is with the 750 high-end apartment units, which many are convinced will turn their pleasant neighborhoods into crime-plagued Vickery Meadow and their exemplary elementary schools -- Prairie Creek, Canyon Creek, and Aldridge -- into miniature versions of Lake Highland's Forest Meadow Junior High, "commonly known today as Forest Ghetto," as one man was keen to point out.

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Junius Heights Welcomes Barking Dog Avi Adelman By Burglarizing His New House

Categories: Neighborhoods

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When the news came out that Avi Adelman, who stood sentinel over Lower Greenville for a quarter century, had sold his Belmont Avenue home, he was cagey when asked where he was heading.

We now know the answer is Junius Heights, where he and his wife have purchased a modest, two-bedroom home. We know this because DCAD now lists Adelman as the owner, and also because he reported to police that his new place was burglarized early Thursday morning.

The thieves broke down the back door at some point between 3 a.m., when a contractor friend who was working on the air conditioning left, and 10 a.m., when Adelman showed up. They stole $250 worth of power tools from the living room. They moved a table saw but left without it.

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Avi Adelman Won't Say Where He's Moving, but He's "Not Going Away"

Categories: Neighborhoods

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Avi Adelman, the self-appointed watchdog of Lower Greenville who's spent a quarter century hounding yard-pissing drunks, bar owners, certain elected city officials and whoever else happened to cross his path, is moving. He's not saying where just yet. "I will tell you why. I'm protecting my family from crazy people who have said some pretty nasty things," he says. The move will happen in the next 60 days, and he will be living somewhere that is not Lower Greenville.

Adelman hadn't intended to announce the move, but then he got a call Thursday from The Dallas Morning News' James Ragland, who keeping up his torrid torrid pace of two stories per month, had been reporting on the opening of Trader Joe's.

Adelman wouldn't -- and still won't -- talk about where he's moving, or why. ("That I'll explain later.") But there were other things he was more eager to discuss, like the current state of his soon-to-be-former neighborhood.

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The Residents of a West Dallas Trailer Park Are Headed for a Showdown with Developers

Categories: Neighborhoods

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Activist Carlos Quintanilla addressing Dallas West residents in June.
There was a time not long ago when no one really cared that there was a trailer park on Commerce Street, a stone's throw from downtown. The trailers, though generally well kept, seemed to be at home amidst the threadbare businesses and houses that characterize much of West Dallas, not that anyone was paying much attention.

But then City Hall and developers began trying to capture the gentrifying spirit that has revitalized North Oak Cliff and transplant it north of I-30.

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A New Map of Blight in Dallas Highlights the Depth of City's North-South Divide

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Every so often, Dwaine Caraway or another southern Dallas City Council member will put on a hard hat, head to an old drug house and glad-hand the media while the National Guard demolishes the building. As pure spectacle, it's quite satisfying. It's a tangible gesture that showcases the city's commitment to eliminating eyesores and reducing crime in economically depressed communities. Plus, it's fun to watch guys in camo smash things.

As a strategy to combat blight, however, it's not terribly effective. Each house that's razed costs the city months of condemnation battles and $8,000 to $17,000 in abatement expenses, legal fees, dumping charges and the like. The city destroyed some 1,600 homes and businesses between 2007 and 2011, but that represents a small fraction of Dallas' rotting building stock.

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The Morning News' Best Neighborhoods Are Really Rich, Really White and Really Far Away

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When The Dallas Morning News announced three months ago that it would be rolling out the most definitive ranking of the area's neighborhoods in history, I put my money on Frisco. Not real money, mind you; if I had that, I could afford to commute from Frisco. But I was pretty sure, a certainty that was only strengthened as, week after week, the Collin County exurb hovered at the top of the paper's ratings of schools and safety and the like.

Turns out, I was wrong.

Frisco -- the part east of Preston Road, of course -- ranks a paltry third on the News' list, which was finally unveiled on Sunday. No. 1 was Southlake.

In retrospect, that revelation shouldn't have been terribly surprising. Frisco, after a decade or two of explosive growth, has begun to wear around the edges, just a little. It's hardly enough to notice, certainly not enough to dull the shine, but it's plenty to displace it as the exurban utopia du jour.

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Avi Adelman Told a Judge He Wouldn't Use Philip Kingston's Name on a Website. So Here's CouncilmanWeasel.com.

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In the end, Belmont Addition attorney Melissa Kingston's lawsuit against neighborhood activist Avi Adelman ended not with the expected bang, but with a whimper of a settlement agreement. Under the terms of the settlement, Adelman agreed not to do a handful of annoying and/or stalker-esque things, like taking pictures of Kingston's house or writing emails pretending to be her. In exchange, Kingston agreed to no longer pursue the suit.

The legal spat just so happened to coincide with Kingston's husband's bid for City Council. Matter of fact, his candidacy was revealed in legal filings in the case. Philip Kingston won the District 14 runoff on Saturday, and Adelman, it seems, couldn't help himself.

Some time between Saturday night and this morning, Adelman went live with Councilmanweasel.com. It's a Facebook page, at least for now, and it features Philip Kingston's face Photoshopped onto -- what else? -- a weasel.

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The Residents of a Commerce Street Trailer Park Are Getting Booted, But They Won't Go Quietly

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Carlos Quintanilla and residents at Dallas West Mobile Home Park.
The residents of the Dallas West Mobile Home Park on Commerce Street probably should have seen the writing on the wall almost a decade ago, when the Dallas City Council rezoned the property and turned their trailers and RVs into "non-conforming uses." If not then, when the Oak Cliff hipsters began flocking to Chicken Scratch.

It was certainly pretty clear when The Dallas Morning News reported last month that the property is being eyed for a posh new apartment complex. Nevertheless, the dozens of families who live there were surprised this week to find yellow notices on their door telling them they had 60 days to get out.

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Is Council Candidate Philip Kingston a Neighborhood Advocate or a Bully?

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After this month's city elections, we repeated a quote that District 14 candidate Bobby Abtahi gave to the Morning News alluding to Philip Kingston, his opponent in next month's runoff, as "someone who sues their neighbors." Kingston wasn't pleased. He called shortly after to offer a barbed response, calling Abtahi a "stranger to the district" and arguing that he had no idea what neighbor-suing Abtahi meant.

Technically, anyway, he may have a point. It's his wife, a lawyer named Melissa Kingston, who is suing the couple's neighbor Avi Adelman, who doubles as the most loud-mouthed neighborhood activist in East Dallas. Another lawsuit was filed recently by the Kingstons on behalf of the Belmont Addition Conservation District, but it was filed against a local developer who, Melissa Kingston argued, was flouting the neighborhood's building restrictions.

But even if Abtahi's statement was technically correct, what he was alluding to was the Kingstons' governance of the conservation district, which history shows they do carry out with a heavy hand.

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