Rezoning proposal passes at Plan Commission, no mercy shown to businesses that don't cause problems

Lowest Greenville took its first step off the cliff towards being the Deep Ellum of the 21st Century when the City Planning Commission approved the Lowest Greenville Planned Development District, in a 13-0 vote at Dallas City Hall. The next step towards business oblivion will take place in late January 2011, when the full City Council votes on the issue.

Then a magical 240 day clock starts running on businesses who will need an SUP to stay open after midnight. With fees for permits, lawyers, site plans and suck-up funds, each business can expect to spend about $5,000 just to get permission to stay open after midnight for maybe two years, three if they are lucky. Then they get to do it again.

After more than 12 years on Lowest Greenville, you would think BD would be as excited as all the neighborhood leaders partying at Mextopia this evening. Sorry, I don't mind getting rid of the bad bars, but not at the expense of places that have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the problems we have dealt with on the street. If the City had done its collective job - like issuing permits properly, forcing adherence to parking requirements, and telling everyone that free and required parking does not mean valet service, we would not be having this discussion.

That does not excuse the property owners who charge $30 or more per square foot, plus a fee for the parking lot, and don't even care that you rent to garbage (read - Lost Society, Bandera's, Sidebar and oh so many more). Instead, the City is going to solve the problem by using a hammer to kill a few flies. Sorry, Nandina's, Big Wong, Shell, Winedale, Ships and a few businesses that have zoning variances in place. Either cough up the money for a permit, get a signed note from your neighbors, or close your doors.

Don't expect a new game-changer business to take their place real fast. If you tell a restaurant investor he will only get two years on his first permit - until he proves himself to god knows who - he's gonna look at his forecasts and returns on investments, and then take his cool legitimate concept somewhere else.

BD tried to blog the meeting live, but the wi-fi signal sucked on the first row, left corner. Instead, you can read Unfair Park's blog by Andrea Grimes from the meeting - click here. BD was able to get a high-quality recording of the meeting right off the sound system, which is about the only thing that worked well. You can download the soundtrack by clicking here.

The performances put on by the neighborhood leaders, choreographed by D14 Plan Commissioner Bill Peterson, is worthy of an Academy Award. Among the most notable points - Asking for a waiver of the SUP permit fee (about $1,100) for anyone who applies during the eight months after the plan passes at City Council. This bone had been put on the table in an email to tenants, saying it would make the process easier to swallow. So a few tenants swallowed, and then choked when the CPC said, No, not gonna happen, the City is in a budget crisis and we can't give away any more money. Someone remind them the City gave away about 15 SUP apps in Deep Ellum to help get things moving. Don't expect the City Council - the final decider on this - to give up the thousands in fees either. Another change was counting tickets issued to a business as bad, but not as bad as your neighbors thinking you are a threat to society or their safety, even if they never come out of their bedroom at night.

You won't wait long for things to go from bad to worse out here. BD has two restaurants on his short list of not renewing their leases, and a few legitimate (read - they already were zoned and legal) bars getting the moving truck warmed up. Discussions about canceling leases without penalty because of the changes are now taking place.

Many businesses are girding their loins for the expected DPD and Code Compliance crackdown, as the City builds up the list of alleged (it does not need to be a conviction under the new rules) violations needed to deny their application for a permit. Someone needs to tell City Hall that getting a ticket is not the same as getting a conviction. Businesses are less likely to call DPD when there's a real problem if they know that call is going to count in Angela Hunt's naughty column.

BD's not going anywhere either - he'll be walking down Greenville with his big Gordon Setter more often because empty storefronts attract more crime. And when the bad guys figure out there are no more victims on Greenville, they will move into the residential neighborhoods looking for victims.

The gangbangers and hoochie-mamas are already starting to migrate to Henderson Avenue, and that's starting to scare off some of the WASPish polo-shirt crowd. And god knows we can't have any of that kind of behavior, can we?? I don't think you'll see 30 cops on Henderson Avenue corners, but you can be sure they will be out there doing what should have been on Greenville five years ago.

Put a note in your calendar to ask me how things are doing on New Years Eve 2012.

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Dallas City Hall