A real estate developer won a rare ruling in an exaction challenge brought against the City of Dallas over a 10-foot strip of land on Mockingbird Lane, the Dallas Business Journal reported.

An exaction is a portion of land the local zoning authority requires a property owner to give to the community in order to obtain approval to develop the land.

The developer, 6101 Mockingbird LLC, claimed the City of Dallas was being unreasonable in its demands for the development of the property.

The Dallas Fifth Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that Mockingbird will get its day in court because it followed appropriate procedurals before filing suit, which the City has denied.

The suit dates back to 2015, when Mockingbird filed for a permit to divide a strip of land at Mockingbird Lane and Skillman Avenue into two lots, according to the business journal. The developer had plans to build a medical services clinic and an adjacent Starbucks drive-thru.

The City conditionally approved the application but later informed the developer that a zoning ordinance shaved 15 feet off the property line. In addition, it would need to relinquish 10 feet of land back to the City for future infrastructure purposes, such as road widening.

That changed the developer’s plans, and it was not able to build a Starbucks.

“The City did not simply put a limitation on the use Mockingbird might make of its property, it required that Mockingbird deed a portion of its property to the City,” the opinion states. “Then, in addition, it imposed a 15-foot setback requirement from what effectively became the new property line.”

The ruling also puts pressure on another legal battle for Mockingbird, which has been trying to recover more than $300,000 from the City for more than four years.

Read the full court documents here.


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