Construction infringes on historic Dallas neighborhood; indignant homeowners fight for footage — a tale as old as time

Construction on Swiss

I’ve said it before in so many words. Quaint, spanking-new apartments — in Old East Dallas, Oak Cliff, Northeast Dallas — are proliferating. Bourgeoning and multiplying like a degenerate Mogwai who smoked a bowl after midnight, ate every last item in the pantry, fridge and freezer (in the cushions, too, you know what I’m talking about, nudge-nudge), regained his strength and went for a swim. And, bam. Hundreds, thousands of apartment homes, almost overnight.

And, Peak’s Addition Homeowner’s Association (PAHA) members wonder” of all the neighborhoods, in all the Dallas, you construct too close to mine?

With builds sprouting and agents pounding “For Lease” signage into front lawns every day, a passerby might wonder, What’s the holdup? The development underway at 4217 Swiss is progressing in starts and fits and fits and starts.

The East Dallas Advocate today offers a behind-the-scenes perusal at the property’s plethora of legal woes (initiated by PAHA), the developers’ unyielding determination to finish the project and homeowners’ resourcefulness/ stubbornness (a word used with admiration, in many cases, regardless of how I view the specifics) when it comes to stopping him.

Planned mixed-use development.

When the City of Dallas approved the project, Peak’s Addition Homeowners Association (PAHA) took them to court (alleging the building violated the residential proximity slope (RPS), that it was too tall to be so close to their historic neighborhood.)

A district court ruled that the 253-unit development did in fact violate the RPS and last September put a stop work order in place.

But, the developer, Dallas-based Encore Enterprises, appealed and paid a supersedeas bond to allow construction to continue on the property while the appeal is in process. So hammers returned to banging and drills resumed at 7 each morning (who needs an alarm clock?) and Encore Enterprises keeps going, gambling on the hope that things go their way. 

Dallas’ board of adjustments ruled the stop-work order appropriate, but that board doesn’t make the final decision. The Dallas City Council does, and write they “will not issue a stop-work order until a court makes a final decision on the matter.”

Peaks Addition homeowners responded with a a writ of mandamus, “a court order compelling a government official to fulfill [his/her] duties,” against City of Dallas building official Phil Sykes.

Peaks Addition residents believe Sykes’ duty is to follow the Board of Adjustment’s ruling to stop construction on the property. Sykes cannot speak about the case yet.

We will keep you posted in our newsletter insofar as new construction drama demands. Though it is one property, expect to see more, similar situations, especially in Old East and South Dallas.

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