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.

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Comments

  • Hobo

    And we continue to wonder why the suburbs grow and Dallas stagnates. That is why I live and invest in suburban communities where crazy neighborhood activists don’t control the zoning process.

  • Brad Johnson

    I’m not clear — now we’re against density?

    • RCfromOC

      When the infrastructure does not support increased density, then absolutely we are against it.

    • gav

      We need to be careful about density. Where you develop densely, and how, matters. Areas need to be planned for density, not just spot-changed to meet a developers pro-forma.

  • Raymond Crawford

    HaHa! Brilliant work! To those who aren’t familiar with the area, or the traffic patterns in this neighborhood, you can shut up. This piece of crap development with it’s one car garages is off the chain. Kudos to Kirby, and perhaps Chernock could clean up his white trash landscape.

  • Tex

    We’re not against density, just dumb density.

  • Tex

    It’s all a speculative deal that benefits one person. The rest of us get the shaft. There’s a difference between being “dense” and density.

  • John O’Neill

    So did he get permission to drop in copyrighted movie and music clips? He could have bigger problems than a local developer.

    • Fran Cox

      It’s fair use and the clip is short enough.

  • Brad Johnson

    Gotcha. Density is great, but NIMBY.

    • Michael Amonett

      It’s actually the front yard.

  • Tex

    We don’t have an HOA on Hampton Road.

  • Michael Amonett

    It’s actually the front yard.

  • majape

    One car garages are pretty common in Oak Cliff, so I’m not sure the garage count should be the make-or-break issue here.

  • majape

    Not to nit-pick here, but the zip-code for this is 75211, not 75208. I’m pretty sure Hampton is the dividing line.

    • Tex

      No, the ZIP code is 75208. It’s right down the street from me.

  • B.T.

    That would be a worthless lawsuit. It’s just legalized extortion to frighten Warnock into submission by threatening costly litigation. I am sure Warnock has plenty of attorney friends who would help him and out make sure that this developer not only spends a fortune losing this worthless lawsuit but also ensures that this developer never works again.

  • John O’Neill

    I was replying to Hobo who was going on about how awesome the suburbs are.

  • jon g

    why doesn’t Mr Warnock present the whole of the legal letter so we can evaluate its merit ourselves? is he hiding something?

    does the legal letter address grievances that go beyond the video posted here? is it possible that the legal letter details specific incidences where Mr Warnock is either misinformed or willfully distorting the facts about the merits of the project?

    attacking someone’s character in the way the videos does is often a tactic used to rile people up emotionally when your own arguments are weak and you need that kind of emotional manipulation in order to make your claims seem legit. we need to stick to evaluating the merits of the project in this discussion. can we really trust Mr Warnock to be honest with us when he seems so fond of cyber bullying? we need to be skillful enough to notice folks who aren’t sticking to a discussion about the merits of the project and be wary of their spin.

    the merits of the project are what should be at the center of the discussion for the good of the community. someone who really cared about the good of the community doesn’t need to resort to name calling and high school internet bullying. the personal attacks made in those videos would be cyber bullying if they happened to our kids. when this happens in high schools often the authorities are alerted and action taken. in the adult world this is handled through defamation of character lawsuits. if Mr Warnock doesn’t want to be involved in these legalities he can easily avoid them by sticking to evaluating the merits of the project without ad hominem attacks and cyber bullying. why would anyone want to get engrossed in petty name calling when such important matters are at stake?

    • Tex

      We don’t know the merits because the developer has never offered an architectural rendering of the project. Plus he used the City of Dallas to help him obtain two of the properties by declaring them “abandoned” and now he wants the City to re-zone those properties (that he got for a $50 filing fee) so he can quadruple his return. Is the City in the business of propping up developers who aren’t smart enough to buy property already zoned for multi-family? Is that what “progress” means now?

    • Tex

      How about Mr. Chernock bullying an elderly couple out of their home? Want to go there?

      • Gary Pyles

        He scammed my parents out of their house a few years back Garland and Sandra Pyles

  • Gary Pyles

    Christian Chernock scammed my parents out of their house a few years ago. 622. N. Clinton Dallas Texas

  • Gary Pyles

    Christian Chernock scammed my parents out of their house. 622. N. Clinton Dallas Texas.