Now then, back to the continuing saga of Lowest Greenville ...
Last night, a certain Barking Dog tagged along as officers from the city's Code Compliance were out warning business owners that if they don't have one of those specific use permits allowing them to stay open after midnight, they'll be cited beginning tonight. Because today's the day (OK, tomorrow, technically) when the Lower Greenville Planned Development District ordinance, passed by the council in January, officially kicks in. Jimmy Martin, head of Code Compliance, says this morning that "at one second after midnight," officers from code and the Dallas Police Department will issue misdemeanor citations to businesses that didn't go through the City Plan Commission and city council to get those SUPs.
And, so happens, that includes the 7-Eleven at Richmond Avenue, because as defined by the ordinance, "any retail and personal service use that offers services to the public or that has customers remaining in the establishment between 12 a.m. (midnight) and 6 a.m. is a late-hours establishment."
Now, as Martin says, "the perception is code can shut down an operation," which isn't true. "We can and will issue a citation. If they don't have a certificate of occupancy [allowing for late-hours operation], they will be issued a citation. As far as putting someone out of business -- putting up chains and keeping them from entering their business -- that's not true. We'd have to go to court and get an injunction. The public and even some of our council members think Code Compliance has a supply of chains and locks and goes in there and slaps chains on them, but they will only be cited." Either by code or the police, who will divvy up the duties.
One question among many: How many tickets will they get? Could they get one every night?
"It's a possibility," says Martin. "I can't guarantee that'll happen, but it's a possibility."
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Also: What about businesses like Service Bar, which had its SUP denied at CPC but is planning on appealing to the city council?
"If they don't have a CO to operate after midnight, wherever they are in the process, they are subject to citation," Martin says.
As for how much those tickets will run the recipients: The ordinance says the fine is up to $2,000, but as Martin reminds, "a judge has discretion to the amount of the fine."
And, yes, Martin says 7-Eleven, which didn't go through the CPC, will be subject to citation. "We asked about it," he says. I left a few messages with the convenience store's corporate offices in One Arts Plaza.