The building at the corner of Greenville Avenue and Marquita Avenue. Photo by Renee Umsted.

The Dallas City Council passed an ordinance creating a subdistrict within the M Streets East Conservation District for a property at the corner of Greenville Avenue and Marquita Avenue.

This came after more than a year of negotiations and planning among surrounding neighborhoods, the owners of the building on Greenville Avenue south of Marquita Avenue, the tenants of the building and the City of Dallas.

See the case report, which designates the property as a “legacy building,” here.

It was brought on, District 14 City Council member Paul Ridley said, when the City revoked the occupancy permits of two tenants of the multi-tenant building because they had no off-street parking, a violation of the code. Though there was a parking agreement that provides off-street parking, these two tenants were not included, and they lacked parking of their own.

When that happened, the building’s owners asked the City Plan Commission to alleviate parking requirements so the two tenants could obtain occupancy permits.

At Wednesday’s Council meeting, representatives for the owners asked the members to pass the ordinance, which had recommended approval from the City Plan Commission and staff. However, they requested the Council add a requirement for some off-street parking.

Steven Dimitt, an attorney for the owners, said for about three decades, the building’s tenants have been using off-street parking in accordance with the parking agreement. The shared parking space is accessed through an alley located on the owner’s property.

There were questions about the validity of the parking agreement, but in November, a district court ruled that the agreement is valid, can’t currently be terminated and applies to all uses operating on the property. The ability to use the parking spaces would be beneficial for the owners, its tenants and their customers, he said.

Another representative for the owners, Tom Shields, echoed Dimitt’s request.

“These adjoining properties were put together years ago through this parking agreement because of the benefit it provided to both property owners’ businesses,” Shields said. “However, it also benefits the surrounding neighborhood.”

Mike Northrup, an appellate lawyer and a representative of the Belmont Addition Conservation District, said the property owner has worked with the neighbors, and he asked the Council to approve their request. However, Northrup said he was not in favor of adding the language regarding a requirement of some off-street parking, though he hopes the private parties involved can form an agreement to allow off-street parking.

“We don’t think it is responsible to make a zoning decision here that the outcome could change such that there would not be available parking for those businesses once again if the district court’s decision is reversed,” Northrup said.

The City does not require off-street parking for occupancy in some cases. Often, this occurs when the City is trying to preserve older buildings, which did not have parking spaces when they were built, and protect them from demolition. For example, this was done for several properties along Lower Greenville using a modified delta overlay.

The building in question was one of these properties, Ridley said. It lost its modified delta credits.

“We’re trying to preserve the old building there, which has operated for many years on a basis with the modified delta overlay,” Ridley said. “We’re simply recreating that because it’s too late to restore the modified delta overlay. This is another mechanism that the plan commission decided upon and, I might add, with extensive involvement of the neighborhood.”