Clint Barlow got to Dallas City Hall way too early today -- 10:30 a.m., hours before he was set to plead his case to the City Plan Commission. Still, though it may have taken a while before Barlow spoke to the commissioners about his efforts to re-open Trees, the wait was worth it: The Plan Commission voted unanimously to recommend that the city grant him a special use permit for two years.
"All the commissioners had nice things to say," Barlow tells Unfair Park. "It was really cool. I was blown away by the support. You think there's some giant there: The City of Dallas. But every road block's been a green light. I thought we'd have to dig in." He laughs. "The process has been arduous, but they've all been like, 'What do you need help with?' This is so easy." And, again, he laughs.
Plan commissioner Neil Emmons tells Unfair Park "this has the potential to make Deep Ellum sing once more." The pun is intended. "It's important. This is what makes the city: It's not another Starbucks. It's something unique that defines the city, that attracts people to the city. It's what we need to support."
Right now, the Dallas City Council is scheduled to take a final vote on the SUP, which is necessary before Barlow can obtain a certificate of occupancy and begin construction, on June 10 or June 17. But he's feeling good: He says he's already met with Pauline Medrano and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, and "they have been nothing but nice and supportive."
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Oh, and as for those wondering what kind of music Barlow's planning on booking into the new-and-improved Trees, that's simple, he says: "rock and all variations of it."