Real Estate

Jason Roberts's List of Dallas Ordinances He'd Like to See Tossed in the Trash This Year

At the end of last month, Patrick Michels was at City Hall for that Complete Streets-Bike Plan-Better Block jam session, where Jason Roberts and Andrew Howard were greeted with "great acclaim" by council members no doubt eager to implement and then claim the pair's restorative ideas as their own. But as Friend of Unfair Park Ellum08 noted in the comments, you can dream of complete streets and better blocks all day long, but until the antiquated and "broken" Dallas City Code gets its own extreme makeover, good luck with all that -- outside, of course, of a few nice weekends in Oak Cliff and the Arts District, when we're teased with the what-could-be.

And Roberts knows all this -- we've been here before. Just last April, before the first Better Block made its bow at the N. Tyler Street-W. 7th Street-Kings Highway clusterfudge, we scoured that 1941 copy of the City Code only to realize how much of that antiquated tome lives today. But enough is enough, writes Roberts on both the Bike Friendly Oak Cliff and Go Oak Cliff sites, where he offers his list of "Dallas Ordinances That Should Be Overturned in 2011." On the to-go list: fees for awnings, rules barring merchants from selling on sidealks, the high price of planting flower boxes and cafes in front of businesses and that nutty one disallowing crowds on sidewalks. Writes Roberts of the thousand-dollar-and-up charge for opening an exterior eatery:

Even in Dallas, the places we put on our visitor's guides show images of McKinney Avenue, or West End Marketplace with people sitting outside at a cafe. Unfortunately, the cost associated with adding this amenity is overly prohibitive. Retailers in Oak Cliff have noted being cited so many times that they've eventually given up trying to promote a street cafe culture. We know that outdoor cafes invite people and encourage street life, but beyond that, they increase city tax revenues as area businesses are able to generate extra revenue on increased real estate. With this in mind, we should be removing every hurdle that exists for a business that wants to open a patio.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky