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Resident’s Fight Against Sam’s Club May Be Too Late

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A battle over a Sam’s Club was put on hold Thursday. But is it already too late to fight?

The big box store is all set to anchor a new shopping center at Central Expressway and Haskell, near uptown. The people who live in the area don’t want it. Now protesting residents would prefer the corner house a mixed-use development with locally owned shops and restaurants — like other neighborhoods nearby.

The plan commission tabled the issue for the day, but it may not have mattered if the Sam’s Club topic was discussed.

The property has already been re-zoned and the only issue before the plan commission now is whether the actual development plan falls in line with what’s already been approved.

Anthony Johnson, who opposes the Sam’s’ Club, said residents were fooled. “We were expecting shops and restaurants… places you could walk to.”

Homeowners near the site of the proposed ‘East Village’ say they were promised a mixed-use development similar to the nearby West Village — an area that would be walkable and upscale.

Matt Mazzei also opposes that business and thinks residents are victims of a bait and switch. “At the last second they surprised us with this giant big box store… a Sam’s Club.

Homeowners are troubled about everything from congestion, to the impact on future development. Now they want the city plan commission to reconsider.

Steven Ray made his feeling known. “No one wants big box retail. It just doesn’t fit in our community. It’s not walkable. There are so many things that just show that this is going to be a hugely negative impact on our neighborhood.

Plan commission chair Gloria Tarpley acknowledged the homeowners’ presence and their opposition, but she also maintains that the time to oppose the zoning for the suddenly controversial parcel had passed.

“The actual zoning discussion of what to do on this property occurred over a year ago,” she said. “If what they [Sam’s Club] are bringing fits into the ordinance, then it is pretty much an obligatory function for the planning commission to approve it.”

In other words: the Sam’s Club is coming. Nevertheless, homeowners were encouraged by the staff’s recommendation to delay voting on the development plan.

Residents are hunkering down and insist that they won’t be intimidated by taking on the world’s largest retailer.

“We will fight as hard as we can to have our neighborhood reflect our wishes, to be part of a growingly, walkable, unified uptown area that includes not just the West Village, not just downtown, not just Kyle Warren, but, the east as well,” resident Alex Moore said adamantly.

Homeowners filed a request to reopen the issue and are asking for a public hearing.

Officials with developer Trammel Crow had yet to return calls from CBS 11 News.

Right now, the development is scheduled for a vote on July 10. And according to city officials, that vote is largely symbolic.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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