Hudson Heights backzoning defeated at City Council - twice!

The Dallas City Council has denied a request by Mad Maxine Aaronson and the Hudson Heights Neighborhood Association for a complete backzoning of this cluster of homes just south of Ross and Greenville.

With this defeat, Mad Maxine is two-and-zero on rezoning Lower Greenville in her own image, whatever that is.

Just a few months ago, she crashed and burned on The Beagle's SUP. The fact that 200 of her LGNA neighbors signed a petition supporting the The Beagle did not help her either.

LGNA took a hit on the under-renovation National Sports Lounge (in the space formerly occupied by Red Jacket) when they tried to stop the reinstatement of non-conforming rights. Maybe Mad Maxine should have skipped the inaugural on that fight.

This story is based on emails, SMS messages and voicemails sent to BD.

The SMS messages from someone at the meeting were pretty blunt:


"It loses - and then Griffith wants to reconsider?"

"Hudson Heights may have won the Council but NSA jinxed it [when she decided to] use it as a campaign issue and attack an adjoining council district's plan commissioner."

One attendee told BD that Veletta Lill lost her temper and the support of her colleagues, and it was not a pretty sight.

Another caller tells BD -

"The discussion got so heated that they had to take a break. When they came back, Veletta asked a few simple questions, then passed to Ed Oakley. He sat there, looked at the papers for a moment, and said very quietly 'I just cannot support this.' Game over!"

But no folks, it was not over.

After the measure was defeated 8-7, the council moved on to another issue. Not five minutes into that discussion, Gary Griffith interrupted to say, "You know, I really think we need to reconsider that last item again. I may want to change my vote." (not sic)

At that point, procedural hell broke loose. Sandy Greyson said this kind of actiion had never happened in all the years she has been on the council and it was not going to happen today.

Remember that by this time everyone involved in the discussions was already out of City Hall's parking lot and heading home. There would be no way to ask questions of them again.

But the council did open up the measure for discussion - again - and voted - again - to defeat it by - again - 8 to 7.

The Hudson Heights NA, formed by Mad Maxine, has its own issues to deal with.

A claim by Mad Maxine that HHNA is registered with the Texas Secretary of State as a non-profit have proven false everytime someone callas the SOS for a record check. Likewise, they also have no IRS records for being a non-profit.

They deny membership to any absentee property owner, on the advice of the Dallas Homeowners League. If you did not live in the house you owned, you were not worth crap to them. That effectively cut out 25% of the property owners from any discussions.

When BD asked one officer why they had this policy, he replied -

"The absentee landlords are welocome to start their own association, meet, vote, or whatever else they want to do. The reason we are not including them in the neighborhood association is that they often have a different perspective on things than people who actually live in a neighborhood.

"Often investors/absentee landlords are soley driven by discounted profit or rate of return, rather than by lifestyle, neighborhood character, and ultimate increase of land and structural improvement value.

"That's not to say that I think owner occupants and investors won't ever agree on development, clean-up opportunities, etc or that we don't value their opinions. I just don't think the drivers for the two are the same."

One caller told BD to find a story in the DMN about legislation signed by Governor Rick Perry which restricts a city's ability to change zoning. He believes this action, which Dallas and other cities opposed, was sitting in the back of each council member's mind as they voted.

And on page 4a, there was the answer (we will do a link when we revise the story later this week)

Perry signs bill restricting cities' ability to change zoning

AUSTIN – Cities' ability to change zoning or put new restrictions on land use will be restricted under a bill signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Rick Perry.

Officials from many of the state's large cities, including Dallas, had fought the measure, saying it could hurt efforts to develop downtowns and some blighted areas by freezing them in current industrial zoning.

The law will allow property owners to develop their land under existing zoning, regardless of whether cities revise comprehensive land use plans for the area.

Some city officials said the political heft of developers, who are major donors to Republican leaders such as Mr. Perry, helped the bill get passed.

But supporters said the bill was needed to protect ownership rights and prevent "punitive, retroactive rule-making" by cities. Lawmakers said some cities were using new land use rules to stop development and thereby devalue land without paying the owners for their financial loss.

The governor's press secretary, Kathy Walt, said that he approved of the underlying intent of the bill.

"Primarily, the governor signed it because he does support the property rights issue," Ms. Walt said.

But she also pointed out that the bill was overwhelmingly approved in both the House and the Senate and that any gubernatorial veto would have been subjected to a legislative override.

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Lower Greenville