Editors note: It has been brought to our attention that the hearing before the City Plan Commission was postponed because of an error the city made in the balloting process – not because of questions about a possible liquor store. The new hearing date is July 19 and a new round of ballots will be mailed out on July 6. We plan to learn more about the case over the next couple of days. We will report our findings asap.
The possibility of a liquor store occupying the northeast corner of Skillman and Oram has neighborhood residents concerned, causing the hearing between the city plan commission and Stonelake Capital Partners to be postponed for the second time, city officials say.
Stonelake Capital Partners, an Austin-based investment firm, recently filed an application to rezone the property, a 0.8-acre plot with a 10,000-square-foot office building, from a neighborhood services district to a commercial retail district.
The change could attract a national, name-brand tenant and allow it to fill the entire 10,000-square-foot building.
It is believed, however, that a liquor store was being considered a candidate to occupy the lot, says City Plan Commissioner Paul Ridley.
“One of the tenants [Stonelake] was considering was a Spec’s liquor store,” Ridley says.
Neighborhood residents voiced concerns about the liquor store possibility during a meeting with Stonelake representative Robert Baldwin June 13, Ridley says.
“The consensus was that they did not want to see another liquor store there,” Ridley says. “There were a lot of objections to what that can lead to in terms of people who drink on the premises, litter and cause problems for the neighborhood.”
Ridley says Baldwin understands his client’s application would not get approved unless Stonelake removed liquor stores from the permitted uses through the deed restrictions.
“[Baldwin] acknowledged there’s just no support for it amongst the community, or myself, if that was left in,” Ridley says. “He wanted time to consult with his client and to get formal approval from them to delete that from the application.”
As a result, the hearing between the city plan commission and Stonelake Capital Partners has been postponed to July 19.
Baldwin says his client has since agreed to remove liquor stores from the permitted uses through the deed restrictions.
“I think we’ve addressed all the neighborhood’s concerns,” Baldwin says.
Baldwin says neighborhood residents within 200 feet of the property need to be properly notified of the July 19 hearing by the city. That is something that didn’t happen prior to the June 21 hearing, he says.
Ridley says the property is intended to be a buffer zone that would not allow for intense commercial use. Therefore, changing the property’s zoning from a neighborhood services district to a commercial retail district was perceived as “going the wrong direction,” Ridley says.
“I think it is a problem to have a liquor store that backs up to residential neighborhoods, particularly in this kind of sensitive buffer zone,” Ridley says.
The indication Ridley got was that Stonelake has not signed a lease with anyone yet, he says.
Ridley says the city plan commission has heard a number of applications for liquor stores recently. In fact, 50 percent of the applications it heard last week were for liquor stores, or convenience stores that wanted to sell liquor, he says.
The high percentage stems from last September’s change in the designation of dry areas around the city, Ridley says.
Now that areas of Dallas County have been designated “wet,” the zoning for each individual property is the only remaining restriction, he says.
“That’s why we’re seeing so many applications right now from convenience stores that now want to be able to sell liquor in previously dry areas,” Ridley says.