Unanimous vote gives green light for nightclub to relocate despite objections from neighbors
The City Plan Commission has approved the Dallas Eagle’s request for a special use permit for a new alcoholic beverage establishment on the north corner of Inwood and Maple streets.
Dallas Eagle’s owners plan to relocate their 13-year-old nightclub from its current space in a strip shopping center to a new stand-alone building nearby that will provide more space.
The commission approved the application on May 18 in a unanimous vote. Several people wrote letters of opposition and spoke against the bar’s application at a public hearing held by the Plan Commission prior to the vote.
One commissioner, Dave Neumann, abstained from voting because of a possible conflict of interest.
Neumann is chairman of the Stemmons Corridor Business Association, a group whose immediate past chairman, Robert H. Todd, had written a letter to the commission urging that the application be denied.
Todd, who is a broker and partner in City Realty Group, said in the letter he was concerned about the impact of nightclubs on economic development in the area.
Nancy Feaster, a property owner who coordinated opposition from neighboring businesses and residents, said she hopes the shopping center’s owners will agree to a deed restriction that would prevent the Eagle’s current site from being operated again as a bar. The shopping center’s owners had already agreed to the deed restriction, but it apparently was not made part of the motion when the commission voted on the application, she said.
“I don’t feel it is workable because I think the deed restriction needs to be in place,” Feaster said.
Feaster said she was told plans were underway for the Eagle’s current site to be remodeled for a restaurant.
“I’m excited about that,” Feaster said.
Feaster said she was also pleased that the Eagle’s owners indicated in a revised site plan that they do not plan to operate a patio at the new bar. That will help keep noise at a minimal level, she said.
The application now goes to the Dallas City Council for approval. Feaster said she would address her concerns to the council.
The Eagle is located in the area represented by District 2 City Council member Pauline Medrano.
Jeff Strater, a member of the commission who was appointed by Medrano, said he believes the Eagle received strong support from the commission because it has been in operation for more than a decade and has enjoyed a good track record.
“Especially when you benchmark them to other bars and taverns throughout the city very little crime, assaults and burglaries,” Strater said.
“All around they’ve done a pretty good job over more than a decade in business.”
The opponents speaking at the public hearing referred to news stories about a vice squad raid at the bar in March 2004 and a visit by fire marshals to check on overcrowding earlier this year.
Feaster said residents who live near the Eagle have periodically expressed frustrations about parking, noise and traffic over the years, but most of the business owners had experienced few problems.
“Most of us were accepting of the status quo,” Feaster said. “Our position is not based on past experiences, but out of concerns for the future growth of our neighborhood.”
Feaster said she believes the neighborhood is in a state of transition from commercial and industrial to residential, and that would make nightclubs less desirable than before.
But Strater said the commission doubts the area will ever be transformed to a residential area. The areas adjacent to the Eagle are currently zoned industrial research.
“The city staff has assured us the noise levels from the runways of Love Field make it close to impossible for people really to live there,” Strater said.”That’s why it is zoned industrial.”
Eagle owner Matt Miller declined to comment.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 26, 2006.