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The Next Round of the Cityplace Sam's Club Fight Starts Today

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Just about two weeks ago, all seemed lost for a group of residents who were upset about a Trammell Crow development plan that included building of a Sam's Club near Haskell Avenue and U.S. 75. Zoning for the development had already been approved, so the City Plan Commission's July 10 signing off on the project was a mere formality.

Before that vote could take place though, the East Village Association, a group representing the residents, sued the city of Dallas and Trammell Crow. The association tried, and failed, to stop the commission from voting, but it succeeded July 11 in obtaining a temporary restraining order against the city's issuing building permits for the development.

That's where the case has sat for two weeks, waiting for today's temporary injunction hearing. Should the injunction be approved, no permits will be issued for the duration of the trial to determine the validity of the zoning; should it fail, building could begin before the trial's conclusion.

The East Village Association's challenge to the zoning contends that they were baited and switched by Trammell Crow. They were promised an east side of U.S. 75 similar to the West Village only to find out they could actually expect a 130,000-square-foot discount big box store.

Building the Sam's Club required a change in zoning for its proposed site. Changes in zoning in Dallas require notification of residents who live with 200 feet of the proposed changes. The notices sent to East Village Association members withing that radius, the residents say, failed to inform them of the possibility of the Sam's. Neither did the meeting Trammell Crow held with residents to discuss the development, the residents say, so they had no idea they needed to dispute the zoning.

The trial, which could take as long as a year to be resolved unless it's given an accelerated calender, will determine if the notice provided to the members of the East Village Association properly apprised them of what was going on.

Trammell Crow says the notice was good enough. They weren't trying to hide anything, but even if the notices were a little opaque, those notices were the city's responsibility, not the corporation's.

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