The Sam's Club that was planned for Cityplace in Dallas got a kick in the knees when a judge found that the neighbors did not receive proper notice.
At a hearing on November 28, Judge Mike O'Neill ruled in favor of the East Village Association, finding that the zoning ordinance allowing Trammell Crow to develop big-box retail was void as a matter of law for failure to provide notice to the residents of the nature of the zoning change.
The East Village Association (EVA) is a neighborhood group formed to stop Trammell Crow Co. from building the 150,000-square-foot megastore in Dallas.
The focus of the hearing was on whether the city of Dallas had given residents in the neighborhood sufficient notice. The judge said that the city had not.
Andy Ryan and Anthony Ricciardelli, two of two lawyers representing EVA, issued a statement, saying that "the notice provided by the City to the affected residents was insufficient as a matter of law. As a result, the City of Dallas’s ordinance must be treated as though it were never enacted."
Ryan called it a victory for the citizens of Dallas — "not just those who live in the East Dallas neighborhood where this was being planned, but for anyone affected by a zoning change by the city," he said.
The neighborhood group has scored a series of victories in its struggle to stop the proposed Sam's Club from being built. Trammell Crow first bought 17 acres of land at US Highway 75 and Haskell Avenue in 2013. It had plans for a complex called the East Village, with a large Sam’s Club store in the center.
"We are thrilled that the Court looked past the fact that the City of Dallas is one of the largest and most powerful municipalities in the United States," said Ryan and Ricciardelli in their statement. "Instead, the Court ruled that the City of Dallas failed its residents by sending vague and defective notices. And we are gratified that Trammell Crow’s primary argument – that it should win because it has invested $50 million on the faulty assumption that the ordinance was valid – fell on deaf ears."
The neighborhood group also took issue with Trammell Crow's statement that it was the only party "with skin in this game."
"This statement is not only untrue, it is offensive," Ryan said. "The residents of East Dallas and the members of the East Village Association have skin in this game. Their homes are in this game. Their families are in this game. Their lives are in this game. And no company, no matter how powerful or wealthy, can deprive the citizens of Dallas of their democratic right to participate in the zoning process."
Ryan and other attendees at the hearing speculated that Trammell Crow would probably appeal the decision.
"At the hearing, Trammell Crow's representation said that, over the last two years, they've spent $50 million on buying the property, maintenance, and legal fees," Ryan says. "Appeals could go for a couple of years. You don't know when they'll say enough is enough."