The proposed building at the southeast corner of Snider Plazawould house retail, restaurant, and office space. The plan also calls for a two-level underground parking garage with 48 spaces accessed from Daniel Avenue. OMNIPLAN

Commercial Real Estate

Snider Plaza Redevelopment Lawsuit Dismissed

The group opposed to the development might appeal the decision.

Dallas County District Court Judge Sheryl McFarlin dismissed a lawsuit seeking to block city of University Park officials and developer Jim Strode from moving forward with work on the redevelopment of the southeast corner of Snider Plaza — where Peggy Sue BBQ used to be.

The group can appeal the decision, though, to the District Court or directly to the 5th Court of Appeals if they choose. A member of the association opposed to the redevelopment project says they’re reviewing their options.

Strode’s plan calls for taking down the existing structures at the site to make way for a new three-story building to house retail, restaurant, and office space. The plan also calls for a two-level underground parking garage with 48 spaces accessed from Daniel Avenue. The site plan was approved by the University Park city council on Sept. 21.

The Snider Plaza Alliance sought a temporary injunction last week, arguing the “City failed to give sufficient notice of a zoning change and the resulting development threatens imminent, irreparable harm if not enjoined,” according to court documents.

“The Snider Plaza Alliance seeks Court intervention to prevent the development of an office tower in Snider Plaza that would shatter the area’s village character and impose a substantial traffic and parking burden, disrupting long-standing local businesses,” the group alleged in early court filings in the case. “The City of University Park passed a zoning change on false pretenses and without proper notice, allowing the developer to avoid having to comply with zoning that would require dozens of additional parking spaces for a development of this size.”

Lawyers representing city officials, however, said nothing was changed in the zoning ordinance when the site plan was approved in September.

“The Alliance does not contend that the City Council could not reduce the required parking, although it mistakenly contends that the reduction was an amendment to the City’s Zoning Ordinance,” lawyers representing city officials argued in court filings. “The City Council had existing authority under the zoning ordinance to reduce the required parking in approving the detailed site plan.”

Lawyers for city officials also argued that having posted notice and taken public comment when the plan came up at a July planning and zoning commission and again when it came before the city council in August and September, the city had provided adequate notice.

This story has been updated to reflect the judges ruling. The original story can be read below.


Fate of Snider Plaza Remains in the Air

Work on the redevelopment of the southeast corner of Snider Plaza—where Peggy Sue BBQ used to be, and where Lane Florist, Logos Bookstore, and Arman Jewelry used to be before moving to new locations in the plaza—is blocked for now after a judge’s order.

The neighborhood group Snider Plaza Alliance sought a temporary injunction in a hearing on Friday in front of Associate Judge Sheryl McFarlin before a temporary restraining order blocking University Park officials and developer Jim Strode from issuing permits or any certificates of occupancy for work on the redevelopment of the southeast corner of Snider Plaza expires.

A ruling is expected by early next week.

Judge McFarlin said she has yet to decide on whether or not to grant Strode and city officials’ request to dismiss Snider Plaza Alliance’s claims for lack of standing. Jane Rejebian, who owns the property that houses For Heavens Sake at 6619 Snider Plaza as a trustee, was called to speak during Friday’s hearing. Lawyers for city officials and Strode argued in court documents that since she owns the property as a trustee, not as an individual, she “could show no injury of a personalized or specific nature, a necessity to establishing an individual’s standing.

Lawyers for city officials and Strode also argued that since Rejebian attended the planning and zoning and city council meetings about the plan for the site at the southeast corner of Snider Plaza before it was approved, she had been properly notified of the plan.

Judge McFarlin said if she denies that request, she’ll grant the temporary injunction, but hasn’t decided that yet.

Dallas County District Judge Aiesha Redmond had granted the request for a temporary restraining order from Snider Plaza Alliance, a community organization opposed to the redevelopment plan for the site, at least temporarily blocking University Park officials and developer Jim Strode from issuing permits or any certificates of occupancy for any building at 6600 Snider Plaza that doesn’t provide parking in compliance with the city’s zoning requirements for the site that were in place before the city council approved Strode’s plan Sept. 21.

University Park Director of Communications and Marketing Steve Mace said no permits had been issued for that site as of Oct. 20, including during the time before Redmond’s order.

(READUP City Council OK’s Plan For Redevelopment At 6600 Snider Plaza)

Strode’s plan calls for taking down the existing structures at the site to make way for a new three-story building to house retail, restaurant, and office space. The plan also calls for a two-level underground parking garage with 48 spaces accessed from Daniel Avenue.

“The Snider Plaza Alliance seeks Court intervention to prevent the development of an office tower in Snider Plaza that would shatter the area’s village character and impose a substantial traffic and parking burden, disrupting long-standing local businesses,” the group alleged in a court filing. “The City of University Park passed a zoning change on false pretenses and without proper notice, allowing the developer to avoid having to comply with zoning that would require dozens of additional parking spaces for a development of this size.”

The plan unanimously passed the University Park planning and zoning commission on July 13. The city council approved the plan by a 4-1 vote on Sept. 21 with the caveats that the first floor of the building would be retail and the storefronts would be differentiated from the rest of the space, perhaps with a different color scheme on the top floor. The issue had been tabled at the Aug. 17 city council meeting to allow more time for city council members to study the parking implications.

(READUP City Council Mulls Snider Plaza Plan)

University Park Community Development Director Patrick Baugh noted at the Aug. 17 city council meeting that the plan was about 13 parking spaces short of the number of off-street parking spaces required to be provided per the city’s zoning ordinance.

“I’m asking for a site plan approval here,” Strode said at the Sept. 21 city council meeting. The way that the city … counts the parking requirements versus the way our architects did — that’s the discrepancy. I didn’t come in here wanting to underbuild.”

“I think the building is acceptable; I think the parking is acceptable. Yes, we’re short — we’re working long-term to solve the short on the parking,” councilman Gage Prichard said at the Sept. 21 meeting.


Part of this article first appeared in our sister publication, Park Cities People

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