Dallas mayor pro tem seeks to curb growth of tobacco shops

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on May 10, 2010 at 5:00 PM

Updated Monday, May 10 at 7:07 PM

DALLAS — Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway is smoking hot about all the tobacco shops opening in parts of southern Dallas. He wants tougher zoning to snuff out their growth.

The Dallas City Attorney's Office has confirmed that it is looking at how the law might be changed.

When not one but two tobacco shops opened recently at the same corner in east Oak Cliff, Caraway said, "enough."

"You don't have to have one on every single corner stifling the economic growth that we're trying to bring about in the southern sector," he said.

Caraway said he fears the shops will scare off more attractive retail, like drug or grocery stores.

While Caraway is looking to new zoning laws to curb the shops, the city doesn't know how many tobacco shops opened in the last year, since they're counted as general merchandise, which includes most retail.

No tobacco shop owners contacted by WFAA would comment, but Rodney Blu,  a customer at Cloud9 on MLK Boulevard, wasn't hesitant to voice his view against the Caraway campaign.

"His time will be better well spent trying to create businesses as opposed to shutting them down," Blu said.

Although some offer leaf grinders and pipes that could be used for illegal drugs, tobacco shops do sell legal products.
   
Another tobacco shop will soon open on Lancaster Road just north of the VA Medical Center. Caraway said more tobacco shops make no sense with the city poised to pour millions of redevelopment dollars into the Lancaster Corridor.

"We need some type of method that will bring about some type of control," he said.

Whether that control would constitutional is still cloudy.

E-mail: bwatson@wfaa.com

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