Neighborhoods

Information and stories about Dallas neighborhoods

Zubar on Greenville Avenue sent packing after lease disagreement

By Teresa Gubbins / Culture Map

After 18 years, Zubar, one of the longer running and by-now-beloved bars on Greenville Ave., will shut down on July 31, after a failure to come to terms on their lease.

Owner Stephen Tenney informed customers that landlord Andres Properties ordered them to vacate the premises by July 31.

[BD's translation - Andres already has a new tenant who has been drinking the Kool-Aid about Lowest Greenville's rebound and will pay double the rent we were paying.]

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By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Lower Greenville
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Bullies: The Story of a SLAPP Suit Gone Wild

Dallas.org / Allen Gwinn

What is a SLAPP suit? It stands for a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. How does it work? It is filed, well, by bullies usually in an attempt to shut someone up on an issue involving the public's interest.

As a wild example, let's use Walmart. Say Walmart was building a supermarket across the street from your house and, as an example, their parking lot lighting was perhaps not up to code. You're a contentious sort of person so you start making noise.

A lot of noise.

Eventually somebody sues you and abuses the legal system to torture and punish you--hoping to shut you up.

Thus the name SLAPP suit.

Because of the popularity of SLAPP suits, many states have adopted anti-SLAPP suit laws. Texas just adopted special legislation, addressing this problem, recently. Coined the Texas Citizens Participation Act it passed with unanimous support from both houses of the Texas Legislature.

Let's translate that: in a rare showing of complete unity, all Republicans and all Democrats supported it and voted to pass it.

But before we tell the story of the lawsuit, we need to introduce the personalities.

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By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Lower Greenville
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Kingston and BACD go down in flames at Board of Adjustment hearing

If you have an hour to kill, listen to the BOA hearing on 5902 Goliad - click here!

The City's Board of Adjustment voted 3-2 late Thursday afternoon to deny the Belmont Addition's demand to overturn the building permit for the home under construction at 5902 Goliad Avenue. {Click here to see the Board's agenda, and jump to page 82}

After a presentation by Melissa Kingston / BACD, who said City Staff had to be contortionists to approve a structure similar to one they denied a year ago, and challenging definitions of what is a story and what isn't, the City Attorney made it very clear - Building Inspections followed every rule and then followed them again to make sure the structure met not just City Code but the Belmont Addition CD's rules.

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Lower Greenville
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Belmont Addition CD 'enforcement committee' is gonna sue over 5902 Goliad, and we will be the ones paying for it

Update Thursday afternoon - The Board of Adjustment denied the BACD appeal to revoke the building permit for 5902 Goliad - click here for details!

BD Exclusive - Read the email from the so-called Belmont Addition CD enforcement committee, threatening to take the couple building 5902 Goliad to court if they don't change a design already approved by the City. If you live in the BACD, did you authorize a lawsuit that might cost you big bucks???

Many years ago, there were no Conservation Districts in Dallas. Battles between long-time residents and new home builders made the Hatfields and McCoys look like a food fight at the elementary schools. Vandalism against construction sites, including spray-painted walls (or worse) and damaged construction supplies were not uncommon.

Soon, smart people in at City Hall stepped in to stop the wars. City Planners and forward-thinking residents created the world of Conservation Districts (CD) and Historic Districts (HD). It was a unique way to allow neighborhoods to organize, set standards and goals for how they would develop. Conservation Districts would grow and flourish, and eventually could become Historic Districts.

But this great change came with an unusual requirement. A neighborhood could organize a CD (or HD), collect the proper amount of signatures to apply for it, hold the meetings needed to collect design ideas from residents, and develop the design and construction standards they (collectively) wanted applied to all future construction and renovations.

The enforcement of these standards, and the approval of permits, was a power completely reserved to the City. If someone wanted to build or renovate in the CD, they had to pass a review at City Hall to make sure all the conditions of the CD were met. Once that test was passed, Building Inspections would review the construction plans to make sure they met city, state and national codes for building structures (in English - Is it safe, is it the right height, etc). If the plans passed the review, a building permit was issued.

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Legal issues
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Defamation suit against Texas man dismissed under state anti-SLAPP law

Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press / Lilly Chapa | February 12, 2013

A vocal Jacinto City, Texas citizen cannot be sued for defamation after repeatedly accusing a police officer of corruption and calling for his firing during city council meetings, a judge ruled Monday, relying on a state anti-SLAPP statute.

Harris County District Judge Elaine Palmer threw out the defamation suit three days after a hearing explored whether Jacinto City Police Sgt. Dennis Walker could sue resident Larry Schion.

Schion’s attorney Mike Fleming said the case was dismissed under the Texas Citizen Participation Act, an anti-SLAPP statute passed in 2011. The acronym "SLAPP" is short for "strategic lawsuits against public participation," and the law is intended to quickly dispose of frivolous cases filed to silence critics exercising their speech rights.

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By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Legal issues
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