Neighborhood residents uneasy about Skillman rezoning request

Stonelake Capital Partners, an Austin-based investment firm, is looking to rezone property it owns on the northeast corner of Skillman and Oram, across from Redenta’s Garden.

Neighborhood resident Olive Talley has helped organize meetings between Stonelake representative Robert Baldwin and more than 20 neighbors to discuss the rezoning request. They have a lot of concerns because this particular block bumps right up to homes, she says.

Talley expressed concern that, among other things, a restaurant would be constructed atop the building. This type of development could lead to increased traffic, noise and parking issues, she says.

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“We don’t want this [neighborhood] to become another Lower Greenville Avenue,” Talley says.

The property, a 0.8-acre plot with a 10,000-square-foot office building, is zoned as a neighborhood service district. However, Stonelake wants to rezone it to a commercial retail district.

Baldwin says the neighborhood service designation limits the size of any tenant to 3,500 square feet. Commercial retail zoning, on the other hand, could allow a retailer to fill the entire 10,000-square-foot building.

If the rezoning request is approved by the City Plan Commission, and eventually the Dallas City Council, Stonelake could attract a national, name-brand tenant, Baldwin says, “something like an Ace Hardware or something that needs more space,” Baldwin says. “[Stonelake] is just trying to get their options out as to what else can go in there.”

Baldwin, who lives in the neighborhood, says he understands residents’ concerns and, therefore, has eliminated some of the typical uses for commercial retail-zoned property, such as a drive-through. In addition, it’s unlikely the existing building would be altered, he says.

“I suspect the building is going to stay the way it is right now,” Baldwin says. “ The building is in pretty good shape. There’s really no reason to tear it down.”

Baldwin says he doesn’t know what potential retailers Stonelake has talked with.

The rezoning request is still being discussed, and another meeting with neighbors is expected to take place before Stonelake introduces the proposal to the city plan commission June 21.

Stonelake last year purchased the Skillman-Oram property and the Skillman Live Oak Center, the strip of shops on the east side of Skillman between Oram and La Vista, as well as the retail triangle that houses Wine Therapist, CrossFit White Rock and the former Molly Maguire’s/Tipperary Inn.

As a result, the center’s decades-old sign was replaced and a couple of stores moved. Paperbacks Plus, which had been in the Lakewood area for 35 years, moved to 10801 Garland Road, near Casa Linda Bakery. The Consignment Solution moved across the street. Replacing these two businesses will be Matt’s Rancho Martinez, which lost its Lakewood shopping center lease to Mi Cocina.

Stonelake also owns a grass field a couple blocks west of the triangle, on the east side of Mecca between Lewis and La Vista. It had asked the city to rezone the land and allow for a parking lot there, but later withdrew the request.

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  • CitizenKane

    I would like to see the developer’s plan with buildng foot prints, curb cuts, parking layouts, setbacks, etc. before any re-zoning is discussed.  Until a specific plan is offered up by the developer, any discussion of re-zoning should be tabled.

  • ChuckE

    That building has been there since 1974 and I believe was a drug store at one time. It’s only 10,000 sf so not much can go in there.

  • Avi, thanks for the “shout-out”, but as far as I know and can tell by looking at our comment trail, we didn’t pull any comments of yours down about Angela. As long as people stay away from name-calling and obviously false statements, we try to let things ride here as much as possible.

  •  I posted a comment re how Hunt has abandoned the neighborhood (and its issues) after she killed Lowest Greenville.

    And poof, someone at Advocate Mag pulled it off?? Hey Rick! REALLY?

  •  Once Angela Hunt destroyed Lowest Greenville, she moved on to killing Resident Parking Only in Uptown and ignoring phone calls from her constituents. Move on folks, she’s out of here in 12 months, nothing to see or do anymore.

  • There was a rumor going around that CHILI’s wanted that space. I called their media office for a statement, and they never replied.

    Yes, the area is the NEXT Lowest Greenville – without any parking. Why do you think there was an effort to rezone pieces of Mecca Street for parking (withdrawn but not dead, I am sure).

    Folks, start saving your pennies for Resident Parking Only – it saved Lowest Greenville’s residential streets and is now in force in Uptown and Bishop Arts. The newest RPO is on the 5700 block of Vickery Blvd!

    And I will gladly help you put the petitions together –

  • Nyexpt

    Thank you for pointing that out!!!
    That was one of the main issues we had with the rezoning of the particular plot of land in our neighborhood.
    Everyone has grand intentions (take the LH “town” center, etc) but…
    Once it’s done it’s done.
    And developers or realties really couldn’t care less.
    They’re in and out and in it for the $$$.

  • Lower Greenville resident

    Two things to point out:

    1. The owner has already run off 2 daytime small businesses (Paperbacks Plus and the Consignment Solution and replaced them with a bar-restaurant (Matt’s) because they make more money on the nightime-use lease. Proof of their real intentions are in the pudding!

    2. If the re-zoning is approved, it is FOREVER. “Commercial retail zoning” NEVER is rezoned to something to less. If rezoned, the land owner can put anything they want in there that meets zoning – bar, bar-restaurant, etc. So whatever they say now or whatever they may actually want to do now has NO bearing of what could go there at anytime in the future.

  • Nyexpt

    That’s kewl. 
    I just wanted to point out to everyone that unfortunately, these decisions are basically already made. Sure, our council persons say that they listen to their constituents, but that’s where it ends. They listen but don’t “hear” or follow through. 
    Also, people (not you) seem to always throw this stupid term around: “NIMBY” (not in my backyard).
    But let’s call spades spades here.
    NOONE, and I repeat NOONE, no matter their economic status, political affiliation, ethnicity, or whatever wants unsightly (not saying that what’s there or might be there is), loud or neighborhood-unapproved stuff in their backyards. And by backyards I MEAN backyards. Not down the road or “close” by.
    Heck. HP people didn’t even want the PGB Library abutting their backyards due to something like the height of its parking garage.
    Lesson here is that people have to pay attention to what’s going on – or not – around them.
    It’s hard to do sometimes with busy lives, etc. 

  • Lisa

    Matt’s Rancho is not taking over both spaces, only the Consignment space, the old Paperback’s Plus space has For Lease signs in the window. 

    Also, the statement from the developer that “Something like an Ace Hardware…” could go in the space, but we already have an Ace Hardware on Gaston Ave. so that seems like a strange example of what would go into the expanded space. 

  • Anonymous

    I have nothing to do with any development.

    I am close, but am I “CLOSE”? I can’t answer that. But I’m closer than a Lake Highlands guy.

    Like my tune?

  • Michelle

    Where is Angela Hunt in all of this?  Why isn’t she taking a more proactive stance to support the residents she represents and help mediate the needs of the community with a corporation that will have a primary objective of profiting from their investment?   

  • Tomatodallas

    People who don’t know the past history of Skillman/Live Oak shopping center don’t realize how changes really impact our neighborhood, especially with increased population in the East Dallas area. I always get labeled “a dinosaur” with my objections to increasing any more traffic to this shopping center or to the Lakewood Shopping Center but I can still state my opinion which is “most of us don’t want another Lower Greenville challenge”! I mean isn’t the Lower & Upper Greenville area enough as to what can happen? One friend of mine moved his business off of Greenville Ave. to Richardson because of the lack of space, the crowds of imbibing folks and the crime.

  • Nyexpt

    My neighborhood strongly opposed a residential to commercial change in zoning and had 100+ show up to City Hall. (we made it through the first round as our case was “strong”, but then…) Guess what? It was already and had probably always been a done deal. 
    Typical quid pro quo in the govt. sector.
    What’s that saying? Oh, yeah. You can’t fight City Hall.
    Suppose it’s a saying for a reason.

     @Los_Politico:disqus, I bet if you had nothing to do with the development or if you lived CLOSE by it, you’d be singing another song.
    That’s okay. Most people would, too.

  • Anonymous

    Matthew, looks like you’re rather new? I’m taking the liberty to suggest a more accurate headline for you:

    Neighborhood residents uneasy about any change ever