Stealing spaces - heading to court?

This just in - reconstruction of the head-in parking spaces in front of Public House started up this afternoon, with a shiny new construction permit issued on Friday hanging on the fence.

Looks like the neighborhood pundits misread the City's intent to squeeze hard and make the Andres' cough. The estimated cost for replacing the parking spaces, per the permit, is more than $12,000. Expect the price of your drinks to go up proportionately.

City Hall sources confirm the City is ready to drag Andres Property to court for disemboweling parking spaces on Lowest Greenville in an attempt to create patio spaces for their tenants without the proper permits or even trying to buy the property from the City.

As noted on Friday's CBS11 report, the bar owners claim they had the proper permits to build patios in what had been nearly a dozen head-in parking spaces in front of two Andres-owned or managed properties nearly three weeks ago. [Technically, the bar owners did not apply for the permits. They were filed on September 11 by Andres Properties.] According to the City - and a review of the permits hanging on the site - they were repairing the sidewalks and curbs, not excavating the parking spaces and creating patios.

Ever since the construction was shut down just one day after being started in late September (see photos here), it's been a verbal tug of war between the City, the Andres' and the bar owners, with each claiming dibs on the spaces.

Sources tell BD the City sent the Andres' a three-page letter nearly two weeks ago ordering them to restore the parking spaces back to the conditions that existed on September 28, 2009. The Andres' are reported to have told the City they just learned they own the property and were doing nothing wrong, then insisted on a meeting just days before the deadline. The bar owners claim neighborhood residents and City Council Member Angela Hunt are interfering with their right to operate what they call legal and good businesses on the strip, while the bad businesses continue to drag them down the toilet.

During a 30-minute verbal harrange on Thursday evening, a slightly intoxicated Public House owner Adam Seigel and his bar manager, Chris, insisted their business is doing everything legal and needs the patio to keep from losing his life savings as Lowest Greenville suffers from gangbanger invasions every week. Seigel's comments were outside the Taco Cabana - and witnessed by TC's off-duty officer who thought the discussion would come to blows - after Seigel made a sincere effort to find BD while he was taking a late night break - nearly two blocks from Public House.

According to Seigel, his lease with Andres Properties since 2004 has included the right to operate a patio on what are City-owned right-of-way parking spaces. When told his landlord can't lease what he does not own, Seigel replied, Who cares about f*cking permits? We want our patio now.

Seigel contends that BD single-handedly shut the construction down and is directing all the efforts to shutter what he called legitimate business activities, and should now direct his efforts to telling City Hall to let the patio construction start again. BD responded if he had such god-like powers and did indeed smite the construction process, he would have used said magical powers to close Public House and all the other scumbars with the wave of his magic menorah years ago.

Siegel said the neighbors need to mind their own business when it comes to property rights, public right of way, noise issues, Certificates of Occupancy and any legal issues being used to control his and all the other good businesses on Lowest Greenville Avenue.

It's no one else's f*cking business what we do out here. I live in the neighborhood too, and I want this patio. We don't need permits, we can do whatever we want, and the neighbors just need to mind their own f*cking business. Instead of having a patio on the second-busiest weekend of the year, I've got a construction site in front of my bar. My life savings are tied up in this place and I am tired of being told what to do, he said (not sic).

Patios are a hot item, as the impact of the no-smoking ordinance is driving customers outside and to entertainment areas outside of Dallas without similar restrictions. The recent opening of three bars on property adjacent to the parking spaces only serves to reinforce their demands for patios.

City Hall sources told BD on Friday that during a Wednesday meeting between City attorneys, the Andres' and their attorney, and City Council Member Angela Hunt, the Andres', the City insisted the spaces be returned to their condition before construction at their expense or this issue would end up in court faster than you can say gangbanger. The Andres brothers reportedly stormed out of the room in a huff, while their attorney agreed to the repairs. They insisted repairs could not happen until after the TX OU weekend due to poor weather conditions and the time required to pour and cure such a large amount of concrete. The four-foot safety fence was a last-minute idea designed to keep patrons from being hurt (CBS11 reports at least one broken leg due to the open construction, something that will probably end up in court to determine responsibility and liability). The permits were applied for on Thursday and after a very expedited review were approved by Friday morning.

Neighborhood pundits believe that by Wednesday the Andres will notify the City they are not going to make the repairs and still want to buy the spaces, and won't do anything until they get what they want. At that point, the City will file a lawsuit seeking damages and costs, and consider further actions such as revoking the Certificate of Occupancy of any business along the disputed sites since they are operating under unsafe conditions exposing the City to liability. In the interim, the open pits will remain open.

Dallas City Attorneys are finally getting aggressive about protecting right-of-way property rights along Greenville Avenue, and don't want to set a bad precedent by letting Andres or anyone else steal the head-in spaces. Council Member Hunt is working with Council Member Pauline Medrano, who represents a portion of Lowest Greenville Avenue (on the west side of the street between Ross and Belmont Avenues) to make sure no City bond funds are spent on improving the area until the problem bars are completely wiped off the street, and that future zoning changes prevent the operation of bars claiming to be restaurants - but not serving any food - in the future.

BD has confirmed a review of existing patio spaces - for example, ZuBar, Billiard Bar, Lost Society and others located where head-in parking spaces were once in place - is being planned. If the paperwork is found lacking approvals, or if no paperwork can be found, it's possible the City could take action to close those patios down and scrape the patios back to what they were - parking spaces.

By Avi S. Adelman under Public safety , Dallas City Hall