Nick McCune has lived in the Swiss Avenue Historic District for more than 16 years at 5514 Swiss Ave., a sublime two-story Craftsman home that is right next door to the Aldredge House. His home, like the Aldredge House, was built in 1917 and is pristine, with a large front porch and an expanse of lush St. Augustine in front. Homes like McCune’s are the reason why the neighborhood is one of the most adored and sought-after in Dallas. Having a Swiss Avenue address is something of a status symbol, though many of the people who live on this storied street in Munger Heights would blush at the thought.
But it’s not all roses and Mother’s Day tea, as there has been a war brewing between one of the most recognizable homes in the neighborhood and the households that surround it.
In what has quickly become a he-said-she-said shouting match between neighbors of the Aldredge House and the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance that owns the property, McCune has been consistent and level-headed, open to a dialogue between those who want to see the Aldredge House return to a single-family residence, and those who say that such an action would effectively ruin the immaculately preserved home.
The problem of loud weddings and large tents didn’t develop overnight, McCune said, but it has steadily become the norm over the past few years. Despite several attempts to rein in the size and volume of the events, McCune says it’s a Sisyphean task.
From his accounts, McCune’s weekends are full of noisy trucks idling, crews shouting as they set up tents, a busy street as valets usher cars past his driveway, all capped with receptions that feature loud emcees, long toasts, and send-offs that test the limits of polite society. Sometimes they get to enjoy it all twice in a day.
“It has spiraled completely out of control in the last several years,” said attorney Chris Hamilton, who is representing six households near the Aldredge House. Together they have filed an application with the City of Dallas Board of Adjustment to revoke the Aldredge House’s ‘legal non-conforming use’ allowing it to host private events.
“In 2009, there were 20-something private events at the Aldredge House,” said Hamilton, who has lived at 5521 Swiss Ave. since 2011. “In 2014 there were 64 private events.”
Hamilton echoes McCune, saying that the neighbors have been trying to work with the Aldredge House for years, and yet no permanent resolution has been found. After going back and forth with the city over a period of months and years, neighbors felt that their only recourse was to take their complaint to the Board of Adjustment.
“[Wedding vendors] would say, ‘I’ll talk to the bride about this,’ or ‘I will ask the bride about that,’ when the neighbors had concerns about music,” Hamilton said. “But nothing was ever done.”
It all came to a head when Hamilton, McCune, and other neighbors found out that a vendor had been allegedly forging their signatures in order to get tent permits from City Hall.