Information and stories about Dallas neighborhoods

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.

Click here for the complete story

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Legal issues
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TABC sales summaries

TABC sales summaries for select Lowest Greenville / Lower Greenville bars, prepared December 24, 2012.

TABC Sales Reports 12_24_12
By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Lower Greenville
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The Bribery Aisle: How Wal-Mart used payoffs to get its way in Mexico

By DAVID BARSTOW and ALEJANDRA XANIC von BERTRAB / Published: December 17, 2012

Wal-Mart de Mexico was an aggressive and creative corrupter, offering large payoffs to get what the law otherwise prohibited, an examination by The New York Times found.

A preview of a New York Times investigation revealing bribery by Wal-Mart as it sought to build in the shadow of Mexico's most revered cultural landmark, the pyramids of Teotihuacán.

SAN JUAN TEOTIHUACÁN, Mexico — Wal-Mart longed to build in Elda Pineda's alfalfa field. It was an ideal location, just off this town's bustling main entrance and barely a mile from its ancient pyramids, which draw tourists from around the world. With its usual precision, Wal-Mart calculated it would attract 250 customers an hour if only it could put a store in Mrs. Pineda's field.

One major obstacle stood in Wal-Mart's way.

After years of study, the town's elected leaders had just approved a new zoning map. The leaders wanted to limit growth near the pyramids, and they considered the town's main entrance too congested already. As a result, the 2003 zoning map prohibited commercial development on Mrs. Pineda's field, seemingly dooming Wal-Mart's hopes.

But 30 miles away in Mexico City, at the headquarters of Wal-Mart de Mexico, executives were not about to be thwarted by an unfavorable zoning decision. Instead, records and interviews show, they decided to undo the damage with one well-placed $52,000 bribe.

The plan was simple. The zoning map would not become law until it was published in a government newspaper. So Wal-Mart de Mexico arranged to bribe an official to change the map before it was sent to the newspaper, records and interviews show. Sure enough, when the map was published, the zoning for Mrs. Pineda's field was redrawn to allow Wal-Mart's store.

Click here for the complete story

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Lower Greenville
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