DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Plan Commission approved Thursday to send the Greenville Ave. Planned Development Proposal to the city council for final approval. The proposal would force any business south of Belmont Ave. along Greenville Ave. wishing to stay open past 12 a.m. to obtain a specific use permit to do so.
If the council approves, all businesses must apply for an SUP within eight months of passage of the ordinance.
During Thursday’s meeting at Dallas City Hall, supporters argued that the permits would help clean up the neighborhood, give the city more control of “bad businesses,” make the area family friendly, decrease public drunkenness and fights, and reduce overall crime.
“Help us save our neighborhood,’ said Stephen Melendi, a Greenville Ave. Neighbor. “The presence of these bars has drastically reduced the quality of life in the neighborhood. Every weekend, they’ve brought crime to our neighborhood.”
Dallas police officials told the commission that the specific use permits would have a positive impact on decreasing crime after midnight along Greenville Ave. Police officials have said that more than 20 additional officers are needed to adequately patrol the area during weekends.
“Violent crime has actually increased in Lowest Greenville over the late-night period. I do believe this would help,” said DPD Deputy Chief Mike Genovesi.
However, those opposed to the permits said the plan will chase away existing and future businesses from the area and turn Lowest Greenville’s entertainment district into a ghost town. They also expressed concern about the cost to renew the SUP process, which bar owners and restaurateurs suspect will be every two years.
The opposition said the permits would eventually lead to a loss of jobs in the area when businesses shut down.
“There are businesses down there that don’t even have alcohol sales,” said Simon McDonald, owner of the Libertine Bar on Greenville Ave. “Say an art gallery wants to stay open past midnight; they still have to get a permit as well. That doesn’t seem very fair to me.”
On Nov. 9, District 14 councilwoman Angela Hunt and other city officials unveiled a plan to change the district from one known for its nightlife to one that welcomes families and daytime foot traffic.
She said then that $1.3 million from a 2006 bond package will widen sidewalks and reduce the number of driving lanes from four to two. The proposal will tackle the street in separate segments: Hunt said she plans to modify the entire nine-block stretch of Greenville Ave. between Belton Ave. and Bryan Pkwy. over the next five years.
“We are spending tremendous taxpayer dollars and police resources babysitting the drunks at some of these bad bars,” Hunt said during the unveiling. “What we want to do is create a great family-friendly area that’ll have a balance of taverns and bars and late night operations that are not causing problems.”
There is no firm date for the council’s vote, but city officials expect it to come in mid-January or early February.