Oak Cliff Filmmaker Makes Video Protesting Rezoning and Is Threatened With Lawsuit

Warnock is a staunch Oak Cliff-er, and he’s not happy about some of the attempts to rezone formerly single family lots on Hampton Rd.

If you’ve hung around Dallas music for any length of time, you know the name Kirby Warnock. Back in the day, he edited Buddy, one of first print mags to cover the Dallas music scene. Since then he has become a filmmaker, and his movie When Dallas Rocked showed at a film festival and on PBS (more on that here).

Warnock is also a staunch Oak Cliff-er; he’s been there long before it was the hip place to be. And he’s not happy about some of the attempts to rezone formerly single family lots to make way for dense development. Specifically, there’s a single family lot on Hampton Road which developer Christian Chernock hopes to “spot zone” to make way for a subdivision development of 42 “units” plopped in between single family homes. Warnock believes it will create too much traffic on Hampton, make for a dangerous new intersection, and is out of keeping with the surrounding neighborhood.

So what does a frustrated filmmaker-neighbor do? Make a film, of course. Warnock released a video (above) last week, setting his argument against Chernock’s development to the song “Dueling Banjos” and equating land speculation in Oak Cliff to “the love scene from Deliverance.” Warnock’s little movie isn’t very subtle, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t entertaining.

Well, not to Chernock. The developer’s lawyer sent a letter to Warnock asking him to take the video down, threatening a defamation lawsuit. Specifically, Chernock objects to a scene from Animal House Warnock splices into his video. So what did Warnock do? Make yet another, not so subtle video about receiving the threat (posted below).

This isn’t the first time Chernock has, um, frustrated neighbors in Oak Cliff. In 2010, Jim Schutze wrote about a couple, Josh and Jenn Terry, whose efforts to rehabilitate an apartment building in the Kings Highway Conversation District were stifled when the city’s Board of Adjustment suddenly and surprisingly started refusing them building and occupancy permits. Emails Schutze obtained from the city showed that Chernock, who had shown prior interest in purchasing the Terry’s property, played a role shutting down the young couple’s project.

In other words, Chernock sounds like a great neighbor. It will be interesting to watch how this one develops, so to speak.