DALLAS -- Some residents near Uptown Dallas trying to keep a Sam’s Club out of their neighborhood think they just found a secret weapon to shut the big box out.
They say notification letters to residents omitted language about a mega store, a notification that city rules require.
Thursday, the Dallas Planning Commission will hear those concerns and neighbors hope the city will move to keep Sam’s out.
At a city council session Wednesday, Cityplace neighborhood activist Jonas Park delivered a box full of signatures on a petition to stop Sam’s Club from being built by developer Trammell Crow at Central Expressway and Haskell, near the Cityplace Tower.
“More than 2,500 people trusted me to deliver these signed petitions so that you could look after their collective interest,” Park told the council.
While residents know a petition is important, they’re hoping having the law on their side is even more so.
“Now, with this legal argument, we feel we have a very solid grounds by which we can prevent the Sam’s from being developed. So this is a huge step forward for us," said Alex More, who also lives in the neighborhood.
Building a 100,000-square-foot megastore is such a big deal that Dallas rules say nearby residents deserve to know it’s coming and have a chance to speak up, if they choose.
In the letter the city sent to neighbors about the coming development, there is no mention of a 100,000-square-foot store.
“The law requires that when the zoning change happens, residents be given notice as to what the use change is going to be,” More said. “And if you don’t tell them what the use change is going to be, they don’t have any way to evaluate whether they need to show up at the hearing and speak about it."
In fact, neighbors point to city code which, for a big box store, actually requires additional approval. It’s called a Special Use Permit.
It’s approval neighbors say developer Trammell Crow never got.
“So this is a huge step forward for us,” More said.
In statement, the Trammell Crow Company writes, “We have full confidence that the city staff properly handled this case throughout the 12 months it was under review.”
It’s a late development in the neighborhood’s bid to stop Sam’s Club, and one that could dominate a hearing Thursday at City Hall on a plan that developers considered a done deal.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the City of Dallas writes, “We are aware of the concern. This is a legal question which the City Attorney’s Office is looking into.”