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Bars fail to get injunction on No Smoking Ban, or
It takes a kitchen to make you a restaurant

March 13, 2003

As noted in the Dallas Morning News

    Smoking-ban appeal snuffed

    Judge rejects petition for temporary injunction against Dallas ordinance


    By KATIE MENZER / The Dallas Morning News

    Dallas business owners hoping to overturn the city's new smoking ban have had their hopes extinguished a second time.

    District Judge Adolph Canales denied a petition Monday by two Dallas business owners for a temporary injunction against the ordinance that prevents smoking in restaurants and other establishments. On Feb. 28, the judge had turned down Jim Graham and Matt Mankin's request for a temporary restraining order.

BD will admit that he knows Matt Mankin (Suede) and likes him, but politely suggests that Matt get some lessons in trial preparation before he files an appeal on the ruling.

Why? Because Mankin admitted under oath that Suedeís revenue is 80% alcohol-related sales. That makes Suede a BAR in RESTAURANT zoning.

Mankinís testimony got the attention of folks at Building Inspection and Code Enforcement.

On Wednesday afternoon, Building Inspections visited Suede. It was open for business and at that moment was hosting the monthly meeting of the HGABA. Whoops.

Turns out their Certificate of Occupancy was not completely kosher - a permit had been issued for a new fence enclosure in the back, but it had been red-tagged and the CO was never formally issued. That paperwork glitch might be fixed by the time you read this story.

An investigation is in progress, based on Mankinís testimony about his alcohol sales ratio, on whether Suede is properly zoned. A Suede owner is reported to have told City Staff they intended to file for a Specific Use Permit, but BD has some advice for them - Donít hold your breath on getting neighborhood approval.

Of course, Suede is no different than many of the so-called restaurants on Lower Greenville, many of which are really zoned as Restaurants w/o Drive-In Service but actually operate as bars.

Can anyone please tell BD where to find the kitchen in Soul II Soul or Milkbar???

See BDís list of Lower Greenville Certificates of Occupancy at the bottom of this page.

Has anyone noticed that the bars - excuse me, restaurants - participating in this lawsuit are all little businesses operating just over the edge of zoning rules? Terilliís, Suede, Sipango, many other bars on Lower Greenville - all of them stand to lose big if smoking is prohibited in their so-called restaurants.

Itís not a property rights issue, itís a zoning issue.

If the City cracks down on the bogus zoning, the pseudo-restaurants will be required to apply for Specific Use Permits (SUP) and change their zoning from Restaurant to Bar.

And with much of Lower Greenville already being classifed as Community Retail, an SUP application also requires neighborhood approval before any zoning change takes place, plus provide more parking for their patrons. (See Milkbar dance hall permit hearing postponed).

And donít forget about the possibility of revoking Non-Conforming Rights, just like they did around Bachman Lake over the past few years.

And you thought it was really cold just a few weeks ago??

Sources at the City Attorneyís office and Planning/Development tell BD that the pending outing of pseudo-restaurants was an unintended but welcome benefit of the Smoking Ban.

If someone complains about smoking at a bar, it is likely that the first request from the City to the business will be for a complete audit of the barís revenues over a three month period in order to determine the alcohol/non-alcoholic sales ratio.

Before anyone can complain about invasion of privacy issues, remember that the owner of every restaurant serving alcohol in Dallas has signed an affidavit, on file at Building Inpsection, agreeing to maintain the 75/25 ratio and to opening their books for review at anytime by City staff.

See this page for the complete text of City Code.

The public service has its own reward, for the prosperity
of any economy depends on the growth of an educated public.
Walter Cronkite