In Rockwall, Plans to Block the Cinemark Sign Wind Up in Federal Court

A piece of classic Rockwall architecture is in danger. The Cinemark movie theater, whose majestic faux-Mediterranean facade and tasteful neon signage are the apotheosis of the modern strip-center design movement, will no longer greet eastbound drivers on Interstate 30 unless a team of developers and their allies at Rockwall City Hall can be stopped.

At issue is Marina Village, a mixed-use development with 399 condos and 16,000 square feet of retail planned for the shore of Lake Ray Hubbard, right next to The Harbor, which houses the Cinemark.

Marina Village is being sold by the developers as a complement to the decade-old entertainment district. What they don't say, and what The Harbor's owner, TF-Harbor LLC, has to point out in a federal lawsuit filed on Sunday, is that the development will "completely obstruct the 'Cinemark' sign facing I-30."

The lawsuit targets the developers, for drawing up the plans, and the the city of Rockwall, for aiding and abetting the developers by voting this year to lift zoning restrictions on the Marina Harbor property protecting drivers' view of the Cinemark.

The decision will undoubtedly cost Cinemark visitors, which is the purported reason for the lawsuit, but the bigger issue here is the wanton destruction of an historic decade-old view. If future travelers coming into Rockwall no longer experience the vista of red neon glinting off the pristine waters of Lake Ray Hubbard, their lives will be poorer for it.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson