Last week I wrote a teaser about a potential zoning fiasco that was going down at City Hall.
On Wednesday August 9th in case number Z056-231, the owners of What's Hot Fun World (a roller skating rink) were applying for a specific use permit (SUP) that would allow the establishment to turn into a liquor-serving club. This area, near CF Hawn Freeway & Buckner (map), is already overcrowded with clubs, liquor stores, and other problem businesses. This area is in District 5, represented by Don Hill. What's Hot Fun World is owned by Robert Milligan.
The majority of the neighbors (including those from Pleasant Grove ACORN and others) did not want this business to become a club, citing problems with crimes and other quality of life issues. Some said that it doesn't "lend to the quality of life in Pleasant Grove," and "they ought to have representatives that respect the desires (of constituents) in that area."
Almost all of the applicant's supporters spoke about the man himself, but not to the project.
Councilman Hill moved to approve the permit, saying something like (paraphrased) “young couples need some place to go and have a drink.” Maxine Reese also supported the permit, stating that since the skating rink was losing money we should let him change the business. Reese tried to call this club “economic development.”
What Mr. Milligan needs is a business consultant, not a favor from the City of
Then Councilman Fantroy came to the rescue.
Councilman Fantroy said it best when he said that (paraphrased) “often the applicants win because they are more smooth and composed" and that's why they often get what they want.
The owner's representative claimed that if an establishment becomes a nuisance the SUP can be revoked. Fantroy called up City Planner David Cossum and asked how many SUPs have been revoked in his memory. Cossum said that he, “isn’t aware of any SUP that has been cancelled.” And that's the point; once these permits are approved the neighborhood is essentially stuck with these changes.
Councilman Fantroy said he wouldn’t go back on his word to bring anymore alcohol-related businesses into Pleasant Grove when he co-chaired the SE Dallas Land Use Study.
Councilman Rasansky came out against it. He stated that he rarely votes against the wishes of councilmembers in other districts except in cases like these. Under Rasansky's questioning, Cossum agreed that it does not meet any of the standards that are required to get an SUP, in terms of it being adjacent to residential property.
Councilmen Blaydes and Chaney also came out strongly against the club, citing problems in their own districts with similar clubs. Blaydes stated correctly that "the city put $200,000 in tax abatements into a roller skating rink, not a bar."
I have had meetings with several of the current Deputy Police Chiefs about various crime issues. They all seem to agree that these types of establishments are a problem, especially in areas in which there is a preponderance of such clubs.
The motion FAILED 8-6 (Miller absent).
Pleasant Grove won, for once. The rich folks won’t get richer at the expense of the safety of the people.