A contractor working on a convenience store adjacent to property owned by AIDS Services of Dallas has done considerable damage to the agency’s lots acquired for future expansion of housing for people with HIV and AIDS.
After leaving a business card and sending two certified cease-and-desist letters, ASD President and CEO Don Maison said he was going to have to hire an attorney this week to have a restraining order placed on the business. However the owner of City View Food Store finally responded to Maison on Tuesday.
“We own three lots behind the store,” Maison said. “They encroached on one and trespassed on our land on the other two.”
The property is at North Lancaster Avenue and East Colorado Boulevard directly behind Hillcrest House. Maison said first he ordered a survey — at a cost of $750 — to determine that the heavy equipment is actually sitting on his agency’s property.
The store owner told Maison that his nephew was running the store while he was out of the country and began the construction while he was away. He said he wanted to resolve the situation without a lawsuit.
“But the city was already involved,” Maison said. “They didn’t pull a permit.”
The contractor is using heavy earth-moving equipment to clear land possibly for the drive-thru lane. But they have uprooted trees that were on ASD’s side and removed a retaining wall that stood between the two properties.
At night, the contractor parked the Caterpillar bulldozer on ASD’s tract of land.
Because the lot is on a hill and a retaining wall was involved, the city told the contractor to stop work and hire an engineer. To make any alterations to the building, the store would have to hire an architect and submit plans to the city.
Maison said he spoke to a city arborist and was told that the way ordinances are written, ASD could be held liable for the removal of the trees no matter who removed them. Although the city could cite the agency for cutting down trees of that size without a permit, the arborist told him that because of the situation and Maison’s attention to it, they would not take action.
Replacing the retaining wall will cost several thousand dollars and a tree of the caliper removed is valued at $10,000, Maison was told by a preservationist in the Lake Cliff Neighborhood Association.