Legal issues

Enforcement committee crawls back into sewer, does not file against 5902 Goliad home

After nearly six months of harassment, intimidation, threats of legal action and two contentious Board of Adjustment hearings, the so-called Belmont Addition Conservation District enforcement committee has decided to crawl back into whatever sewer it came out of and has not filed any legal actions against the City of Dallas or the owners of the home at 5902 Goliad Avenue.

The Board voted 3-2 on February 21 to uphold the decision by City Staff to issue a building permit for the house (under construction since December 2012) despite the claims of BACD's Melissa Kingston that the home did not meet the intent of the CD's design specifications. In order to continue the protest, the committee was required to file a lawsuit against the City of Dallas within ten days of that decision; that deadline passed last Monday, but to make sure the legal beast was dead, BD and others added four more days to count for the intervening weekends before declaring the fight officially over.

By Avi S. Adelman under Elections , Legal issues
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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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Why was Wednesday's pre-anti-SLAPP hearing so important???

Earlier this week, BD's lawyer scored a major victory in the ongoing saga (more like an Italian opera without the fat lady) of Kingston vs Adelman now playing out in the Dallas County Courthouse. To quote from the Dallas Observer piece

Through his attorney, Justin Nichols of San Antonio, Adelman has asked that the suit be dismissed under Texas' anti-SLAPP laws, which prohibit lawsuits meant only to stifle criticism. That motion wasn't considered today; however, the judge did consider whether letters sent by both sides during an attempted settlement negotiation could be used to prove Adelman's assertion that the lawsuit is an attempt to shut him up. The judge eventually granted that motion.

By Avi S. Adelman under Public safety , Legal issues
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Property rights battle in Lowest Greenville

by JASON WHEELER / WFAA / Posted on December 9, 2012 at 10:41 PM

DALLAS - Brittany Bailey and her husband are building a new home in Belmont, the bastion of historic preservation in east Dallas.

"We designed a beautiful prairie style home," said Bailey.

However, there are no plans yet for a house warming. Instead the couple is going door to door trying to thaw a rather chilly reception to their arrival in the neighborhood.

"We are not trying to make war in the neighborhood," Bailey said. "We actually plan to live here and raise a family here."

Bailey is circulating a petition to get neighborhood support for her home blueprint.

Click here for the complete story on WFAA's website

Click here to get more information and submit a petition supporting Brittany and Dusty

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Legal issues
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