As expected, the Dallas City Plan Commission voted this afternoon to approve the Trammell Crow backed plan for the area surrounding U.S. 75 and Haskell Avenue. The plan, for a development that's been labeled the East Village, was presented to neighbors as being for a walkable, diverse multi-use outcropping. To an extent, that's what it is, but there was also, buried deep in the planning documents, a zoning change that would allow for a 100,000-plus-square-foot big box store, later confirmed to be a 130,000-square-foot Sam's Club.
Once they became aware of the Sam's, residents mobilized to prevent it. They gathered 1,300 signatures on a petition and urged the commission to reopen the zoning case for the development at a meeting last month.
None of that affected what happened today. Since the zoning stands, there was nothing the commission could do but approve the plan, which it did 11 to 4.
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That could change though, as early as tomorrow. A lawsuit filed yesterday in Dallas County District Court asked a judge to restrict the plan commission from voting on the matter and to stop the city from approving any actual development.
The 162nd District Court made a ruling yesterday allowing the vote to go forward, but also approved a hearing, scheduled for tomorrow morning, to evaluate the residents' claims that they were never given a proper chance to participate in the process that led to the approval of the Sam's Club.
"We want to go back to square one," Anthony Ricciardelli, one of the resident's attorneys said, "and let the residents who should have had a chance to speak out last year have a chance to speak out before a decision is made."