After two Dallas Plan Commission meetings, the neighbors and owners of the Aldredge House were not able to come to a compromise about the future use of the home. Comments will be accepted until the next Plan Commission meeting on Nov. 30.
While both sides seem to be arguing for the same general position, an end to commercial events such as weddings, longstanding distrust between the stakeholders has belabored the process, which could remain until details are hashed out in writing.
At issue seems to be doubt and confusion over whether a newly requested Plan Development District is necessary for the property. The historic home plans to commit to ending all commercial activities, instead focusing on meetings and museum purposes, but seeks approval to host them after 5 p.m., requiring a special use permit. It is owned by the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance (DCMSA), and represented by Rob Baldwin of Baldwin Associates.
Speakers in opposition to the zoning change, which included many of the immediate neighbors of the home, argued against commercial activities as well, and remain skeptical it will cease until they see defined event hours. Within the last few years, boisterous weddings increased conflict, and neighbors organized, creating a professionally made video to document their plight.
Stephanie Stanley, who lives directly behind the Aldredge House, described how her elderly mother was run off her property because of the noise from the weddings and parties at the home. “The best indicator of future behavior is relevant past behavior,” she said. “Those are not my neighbors,” she added as she pointed to the DCMSA members in the audience.
Commissioner Paul Ridley hosted meetings between the two sides, though they have not come to an agreement about what will and won’t be allowed at the house, or when. What remains at debate mostly centers around the hours events are allowed to occur. A document was distributed to commissioners showing opinions on the new zoning changes amongst those within a 500-foot radius of the property, with 32 neighbors in opposition versus nine in favor.
Commissioner Michael Jung expressed concern over the kerfuffle, noting that the Aldredge House should be able to have meetings after 5 p.m. without a special use permit, just like any neighbor could have a dinner party without seeking permission from the city. He also had doubts about how long this disruptive activity had occurred. “They have been remarkably silent for 35 years,” he said. “I have not heard one word of complaint. That is revisionist history.”
After numerous speakers for both sides, commissioners decided that a new notification would go out to the immediate neighbors describing the home as a meeting house and museum, with an SUP allowing the meetings or museum use to extend beyond 5 p.m. This was the original use for the property, which is what both sides expressed as a desirable outcome.
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