Bishop Arts business owner claims city harassing him to sell property

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on December 7, 2012 at 11:26 PM

DALLAS -- The Bishop Arts District is one of the latest hot spots in Dallas.

New restaurants, trendy stores and social clubs are popping up in the once run-down area of city. And soon, the city hopes an elaborate entrance will invite people in.

But standing in the way is Roy’s Transmission and Auto Care. Roy Smith has been fixing cars at this location for 18 years.

"It's been my living for over 40 years," he said.

The city wants to buy Smith's property to build the entrance, which would include a children's playground.

“I think it's a good plan to get some development in southern sector of Dallas," Smith said. "I have no objection, but I need to be paid enough money to relocate and get another business."

Smith said he's had his property appraised at $775,000, but the city is offering him only about $205,000 after it deducts cleaning and clearing costs.

Smith told the city no, and now he says code enforcement is constantly showing up telling him to clean up his property, mow his grass and remove some cars.

"It's pressure you know -- pressure," he said.

And Smith said earlier this week, Dallas police towed one of his customer's cars off his property. They said the car was abandoned.

"I think it's a bit of harassment on that end," Smith said.

The police eventually returned the car to Smith, after he complained to internal affairs. The department said it doesn't use its power to bully people into selling their property, but Smith said he thinks code enforcement and police will keep showing up as long as he keeps holding out.

The City of Dallas said it is looking into the allegations made by Smith, but had no comment at this time.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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