Proposed Sam’s Club would be north of Cityplace tower
Judge Emily Tobolowsky granted the East Village Neighborhood Association a temporary restraining order on Friday afternoon halting Walmart from moving ahead on its plans to build a Sam’s Club in the Cityplace area.
Tobolowsky was filling in for Judge Phyllis Lister Brown. She questioned attorneys for both sides as well as city attorneys defending its neighborhood notification of change of zoning. Some of her questions at the morning hearing indicated she was hedging on the side of not pushing ahead with a project that was not actually her case.
The restraining order stops the city from issuing a building permit for the 100,000-square-foot retail space.
Among the variances granted by the city is one involving parking. The city has granted a variance requiring fewer spaces than required by ordinance because customers may shop in the area using DART transportation. Cityplace station is a short walk from the planned location.
Demolition permits have already been granted. The restraining order does not cover those because even if the Sam’s Club project is halted, The Trammell Crow Company may move forward with other retail development. The neighborhood association was not challenging that.
The controversy revolves around what a mega-store does to a neighborhood by putting small retailers out of business and creating massive traffic jams on already-crowded streets with no plans to upgrade those streets.
The closest Sam’s Club to Uptown was on Park Lane and Greenville Avenue. That store remained open less than 10 years. Since the site was abandoned by the company, no new retailer has taken up the space. The acres of empty parking lots surrounding the empty megastore has added to urban blight in an area that leads the city in crime just blocks away from NorthPark.
In court, the neighborhood association argued that the rezoning request was for mixed-use development. Their attorney said they were expecting something similar to West Village, just blocks away on the opposite side of Central Expressway. They argued one megastore is not mixed-use development.
The neighborhood also argued that as Uptown has become more densely developed with mid-rise and high-rise structures, a megastore does not mesh with the area’s growth.
CORRECTION: Due to an error on my part, the Beck’s Prime closing this week is not the only on Oak Lawn, but the one on Greenville Avenue. LaDuni on Oak Lawn did announce last week, though, that it will be closing soon.
Friday is Dallas Voice’s annual Food Issue, so it makes sense to start off the week with a little food news … too bad it’s not good news, though.
Beck’s Prime, the high-end fast-casual burger joint on Greenville Avenue, will close at the end of service today, the company announced. Two other Dallas locations, including one at the intersection of Oak Lawn and Wycliff, will remain open. Apparently, it wasn’t a good fit traffic-flow-wise, though the burgers were very nice.
This comes on the heels of news this weekend that an Oak Lawn institution for 22 years, Good Eats, will shutter on July 17. This is sad but not unexpected news. The owners of the property have been driving away tenants for years (Ciudad was one of the first to go, as was Zeus Comics) and the landlord just didn’t want to deal on the lease renewal. That doesn’t mean you can’t get the food you came to love there in the gayborhood anymore, however. Some menu items will migrate to Lucky’s (owned by the same company), and the owners are looking to open another location in Oak Lawn … if they figure out where people will be able to park.
What are you memories of Good Eats? Tell us about your favorite dish, memory, server or experience in the comments.
Dallas Police Det. Laura Martin, DPD’s liaison to the LGBT community, said Monday morning that a detective has been assigned to investigate all cases related to graffiti “tagging” done at a number of locations in Oak Lawn early on Saturday morning. The number “666″ — a number linked to Satan through the Book of Revelations in the Christian Bible where it is called “the mark of the Beast” — was spray-painted onto the base of the Legacy of Love monument on Oak Lawn Avenue at Cedar Springs Road, onto the driveway at two different parking lot entrances at Cathedral of Hope UCC and at a building on Oak Lawn at Maple Avenue that houses, among other businesses, the Dallas Observer.
There have also been reports that the “mark of the Beast” was spray-painted onto the Cedar Springs Road bridge over the North Dallas Tollway, on buildings at a housing development on Lucas Street and onto at least two Dallas Voice magazine racks.
Martin said police are looking into the possibility the graffiti is part of a hate crime. Police are holding a media briefing at 2 p.m. today regarding the incidents, so stay tuned for more information.
Dallas Police are looking into hate as a possible motive for graffiti found early Sunday around Oak Lawn on buildings housing print media offices.
The Legacy of Love Monument and Cathedral of Hope were targeted by taggers with “666” in red spray paint. The Cedar Springs bridge over the tollway was also tagged, as were at least two Dallas Voice distribution boxes.
Chris Kelley, spokesman for Cathedral of Hope, said the church was tagged in two places — on its sign along the street and in the parking lot. By Sunday afternoon, the paint at Cathedral and on the monument had been removed by volunteers.
The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Observer and D magazine buildings were also tagged. Ironically, the building housing Dallas Voice was not touched.
Det. Kevin Janse said police have no leads but hope as word spreads about the graffiti, someone will come forward and provide some clues. He said he hopes whoever did this will start bragging about it when he sees the coverage it’s getting and someone will contact police with a lead.
The spray painting occurred late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Janse said police checked video from the Exxon station on Oak Lawn Avenue, but its video did not catch activity at the Observer building across the street.
Officer W.C. Humphrey, who attended the press conference, told Dallas Voice that graffiti is not uncommon, but the particular “666” message at the specific sites is unusual.
Janse said anyone with information about these or additional taggings should contact Dallas LGBT police liaison Laura Martin at 214-490-0541.
Dallas Police released the video below of an individual fleeing from murder victim Joshua Tubbleville’s wrecked vehicle. Detectives need help identifying the individual shown in the footage.
He’s described as a black male 6’1″ tall, in his early 20s. He was seen wearing tan pants, a yellow shirt with a red stripe and a leopard print baseball cap. If anyone has information on this offense, please contact Det. Sayers at 214-671-3647.
LaCheryl Wilson, affectionately known in Oak Lawn as “Crazy Mary”
LaCheryl Wilson, 61, affectionately known in Oak Lawn as “Crazy Mary,” is in jail on a criminal trespass charge. She was picked up on May 25 and remains in Lew Sterrett Justice Center on a $500 bond.
Wilson has a long arrest record that goes back to 1982 for small charges such as theft of services and criminal trespass on a property or in a building. One arrest lists prostitution. Many of the charges were dismissed and others resolved with an agreement to plead guilty. One charge was no billed, and in another, she was found not guilty by a judge. Court records show she was found incompetent in 1983.
During the early years of her life on Cedar Springs, she was not treated kindly. Today, most store owners and bar patrons look out for her.
Danny Sikora, owner of Thairrific, said stops in regularly for tea. He always serves her and he said sometimes she even pays him a few cents. She’s often seen resting on the patio at Starbucks on Lemmon and Rawlins and stops in Super Cuts for lotion.
More than 500 people follow her on a Facebook page created to make sure she’s OK. In winter, they’ve gotten her a coat and other times just check on her well-being. A recent post complained about a restaurant that kicked her out.
Police in the area know her and are always gentle with her. If they need to pick her up, they usually transport her to Parkland to stabilize her medication. She’s only taken to jail when a complaint is filed.
Criminal trespass is a Class B misdemeanor. The penalty can be $2,000 or 180 days in jail. Wilson would be unable to pay a fine and is unlikely to receive a 6 month sentence.
Dallas police officers responded to a call at 5:42 a.m. at the Shell station at the corner of Oak Lawn and Lemmon Avenue on Friday.
According to a police spokesman, the first responder at the scene found a car crashed into a tree at the station and noticed the driver had a gunshot wound. He was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A police official said there are indications that the shot was fired from within the vehicle, making the driver lose control and crash. Witnesses said after the crash a black male exited the vehicle and left on foot in an unknown direction.
About 150 people joined a Harvey Milk Day celebration that began with speakers and performers at the Legacy of Love monument on Oak Lawn and was followed by a march down Cedar Springs Road and a reception at Sue Ellen’s. The event was organized by Hope 4 Peace & Justice.