02/04/08 Why is City
Hall so against long-time Dallas businesses?
Remember last year when former Councilman Bill
Blaydes with the assistance of several other council members tried to steal Jack
Pierce's land where he's operated Hollywood Overhead Doors for over 50 years?
Well, it's happening again. Unfortunately, this time, Mayor Miller isn't
there to stop it, and Woodard Paint & Body Shop on Ross Avenue may have to close
a business they have operated at the same location for over 60 years.
Editor's comment: Allen Woodard
called me last week after reading "Why is City Hall so against long-time Dallas
businesses?". He told me Woodard Paint & Body has only been on Ross Ave.
since 1976. Before that time, they were located on 4.5 acres on Hall &
McCoy which they sold to Fox & Jacobs so Bryan Place could be developed.
It's ironic that the Board of Bryan Place is opposing Woodard's SUP application,
since Bryan Place would not exist without the Woodard Family's assistance.
Apparently, not all homeowners in Bryan Place agree with their Board.
As I discussed in
strikes from her political grave to put a 61 year old company
out of business (12/06/07),
a business owner made the terrible mistake of trusting a council member and the
lying Plan Commissioner Neil Emmons when PD 298 was being planned and eventually
approved by the city council. He was told by Veletta Lill and Neil Emmons
that he would be protected from closure under PD 298 if he would not make waves.
He was told PD 298 was intended to get rid of badly run and unsightly businesses
on Ross Ave. No one can claim that Woodard Paint & Body is badly run or
The Woodard story is a reason why the
citizens of Dallas feel they have no say in the goings on. The
Woodard's are not ODB; therefore,
they do not count.
We are the middle part of the
electorate that is supposed to shut-up and put
up with it. Bull****! Pardon the French.
As I said before, a car repair business owner knows about fixing cars and paying
his employees on time. He should not have to be an expert on the
machinations of City Hall power games. I can personally attest to the
honesty and integrity of Woodard Paint & Body from times when they repaired my
cars. They did what they said they'd do, when they said they'd do it,
for a fair price. Don't you wish things went like that at City Hall?
The Woodard Family has been restoring damaged cars and employing people at the
same location on Ross Ave. for over 60 years. They were there when nobody
was willing to invest in Ross Avenue. They built a nice building and
erected a wrought iron fence when everything around them looked third world.
They stayed in a troubled area because they believed in the future. They
believed East Dallas would come back.
Even if East Dallas had continued to decline, Downtown office workers have
always kept Woodard busy with its convenient location to them. But -- East
Dallas has been experiencing a renaissance, and the newcomers don't appreciate
the sacrifice the Woodard Family has made for three generations.
The Bryan Place neighborhood is opposing Woodard's SUP request to continue its
operations. They are calling it "spot zoning". How can it be spot
zoning when Woodard Paint & Body has been operating in that location for over 60
years? This is from the Bryan Place website (www.bryanplace.org/Newsletters/2008/Jan2008.pdf):
|BPNA Boa rd Opposes
The BPNA board voted to
oppose ?spot zoning? that Woodard
Automotive requested for a City Plan Commission
hearing in February. The zone change request
would allow an exception for the historic auto repair
shop to the agreed upon PD 298, the planned development
district which would help clean up Ross Avenue
and was supported by the neighborhood and our council
member Angela Hunt.
Though the board appreciates the positive part that
Woodard plays in our area and promised improvements
listed in their request, it also recognized that the
exception would undermine the efforts so
many neighbors fought for in getting PD
298 approved, opening up requests from
other businesses to file for similar exemptions,
which is currently the case with Hinja?s Automotive
across the street from Woodard?s.
Now, Bryan Place is a nice,
little development of zero-lot line homes, but it is hardly a highest use of land
at that location. It is a good use of the land, just like Woodard Paint &
Body is a good use of their land. A representative of Bryan Place says Woodard should
market their property because he thinks their land is too valuable to be used for car
repair. Can you believe his arrogance? There are some
developers who think there could be a higher and better use of the land under
Bryan Place than their
little Fox & Jacobs houses.
The Bryan Place
Newsletter has pictures of several unfinished projects near their neighborhood.
Is that what they want for Woodard's property?
Just in case no one is paying attention, we are in a bit of a building slump
right now. Some economists say we are in a recession. So, why
would any successful business want to close down now and put their property on
the market at a time when East Dallas is obviously being overbuilt, and their
property would be worth much more in a few years when things turn around?
For that matter, why does Bryan Place want a bunch of closed businesses on Ross
Avenue? New projects may be on the future horizon, but the current
financial horizon is not conducive to real estate gambling.
I am sick of gentrifiers, who have the same mindset as conservation nazis. It's not like Bryan Place
is having to deal
with a bunch of strip clubs on Ross Avenue like we had on Northwest Highway. Woodard Paint & Body is a respectable business
catering to a
respectable clientele who live or work in the area. People need businesses
like Woodard Paint & Body to be convenient to their work or homes. People
need convenient dry cleaners and shoe repair places.
More importantly, Dallas needs to be business friendly. Dallas needs to
keep long-time businesses operating in our city. We do not need City Hall insiders trying to run honorable businesses out of town because some
newcomers have no loyalty to those who invested in the area first.
I hope Councilwoman Angela Hunt thinks long and hard about this one and supports
Woodard's request for a Special Use Permit so they can continue to operate in
their Ross Ave. location. Their SUP application
has to go to Plan Commission first. Neil Emmons will poison the Plan
Commission against Woodard Paint & Body to cover his own duplicity in this mess.
On his blog site (dallasprogress.blogspot.com), Plan Commissioner Michael Davis
hint on the aspect of "following someone's lead" It happens
sometimes. When it does, it's usually because the commissioner has
spent a lot of time in their district on an issue. However, we have
a ton a 9-6 and 8-7 votes on many issues.
I trust Michael, but I am not
much comforted by his statement. Neil Emmons was able to shaft the
Rodriguez family who own property on McKennon. See Sam Merten's story:
Little Mexico Gets Squeezed Out
The P&Z went along with Neil Emmons on that miscarriage of justice.
Hopefully, the Woodard Family will not suffer the same fate as the Rodriguez
If Woodard Paint & Body is forced out of their place of business through no
fault of theirs, then your property or business is next. If Woodard Paint
& Body is forced to sell their property in a flat market, then someone can do a
Jerry Jones on you at any time. If Woodard Paint & Body is forced to
close, all of their employees will be out of a job when unemployment is very
Let's use common sense and leave a valuable and long-time Dallas
business alone, and allow it to keep using its property as it has for over 60 years.
We cannot allow a bunch of newcomers and busybodies to run a good business out of Dallas.
We cannot allow Neil Emmons to yank around another Dallas business so he can
We need to demand that City Hall do right by a 60 year old Dallas business.