“Judge Phyllis Lister Brown was going to side with the East Village Association and grant their request for a temporary injunction in the case involving the Sam’s Club Trammell Crow Company wants to build in the shadow of Cityplace. She chided the city and Trammell Crow for their “lack of transparency” in zoning documents and notices sent to nearby residents impacted by the Big Box. She made it clear she was unhappy with how the process failed the residents living next to a 150,000-square foot Big Box that will dropped in their proverbial front and back yards. She spoke of having to make a “difficult” decision.”
Yep, been there. That’s how judges operate. You think you have them convinced of the law, and opposing counsel says something, they swing back to the other side. Ultimately Judge Brown said the city had done just enough to force her to deny the residents’ request for a temporary injunction. So Sam’s Club can file for a building permit as early tomorrow.
“I’m bummed, obviously,” said the neighborhood association’s attorney, Anthony Ricciardelli, after today’s hearing. “We’re disappointed we didn’t get the temporary injunction, but also encouraged the judge admonished the city and Trammell Crow. She seemed to buy our argument that the notice was insufficient.”
Trammell Crow’s general counsel said the company was “obviously pleased that the judge considered the evidence and followed the law.” He then tried to move it on to kumbaya: “We look forward to building a project that’ll be good for the whole community.”
But the neighborhood association says it’s not the end. While they could appeal the decision, they prefer to take the city to trial over the notice (or lack of) sent to residents. Then they may go for a permanent injunction, even if the Sams’ is vertical.
“We’ll ask them to tear it down,” says Anthony Ricciardelli.
“We didn’t get the injunction we sought, however in a way it is a win for us for several reasons,” Jonas Park told me.
He explained that Trammel Crow tried to discredit the East Village Assocation’s legal standing. But last Friday, Judge Brown found the association has a legal standing. Also last Friday, Crow tried to get a directed verdict meaning “even if our claims were found to be true, we have a no legal merit to win the case,” says Jonas.
The Judge denied that motion and let the trial take place. The Judge today implied that both Crow and the City of Dallas misrepresented plans to residents and did not notify exemption of the SUP for an over 100,000+ square foot store. Residents had no way to clearly find out about the megastore.
Now we know: 100,000 square foot retail means a big box like a Sam’s.
“The only thing we lost today was not being able to prove there would be an immediate, irreparable damage/injury if the building permit was given to Crow,” says Jonas. “Overall we are in the best place yet. Better than the day we found out Crow Co. planned to build a megastore Sam’s and much better than those days we went to the City Hall multiple times to get help from officials. We now have a legal standing to take the big guys.
BUT the East Village Association is NOT in such great shape when it comes to legal bills. In fact, they need donations to fund the legal battle.
Please be sure to make checks out to the East Village Association.
I would like to help these people, too, with a fundraiser or benefit to help bring in the change. After all, I recall when I was going to sell bricks to cover my legal fees! I am asking the real estate community to help think of an event or benefit we can hold to help the East Village Association. I have not seen so much spirit and patriotism since, well since I don’t know when. Let’s do it! Maybe Wylie H. Dallas will even make an appearance!