Save the Patio
 

Save the Patio

Don’t let your favorite urban Dallas neighborhood go dark.
 

Dallas City Council's Quality of Life and Environment Committee has directed the city's Sustainable Development and Construction Department to explore two possible amendments to the Dallas Development Code:

  • One would create new parking requirements for restaurants, bars, sidewalk cafes, and entertainment venues that have outdoor seating and entertainment areas.
  • The other would create an overlay that could be used by the city to require Dallas restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, and other late night businesses to obtain a special permit to operate past midnight.

On Nov. 22, 2016, the Save the Patio coalition formed in response.

On Nov. 29, 2016, the city held its first public information meeting on these ideas. At first, businesses were not invited to the public meeting. When this was brought to their attention, the invitation was extended to restaurants, bars, commercial real estate professionals, service industry employees, and others who enjoy Dallas' enertainment districts. Of the 300 who attended, 90% were in support of Save the Patio's stances.

On Dec. 12, 2016, another public meeting was held, this time on just the patio parking ordinance. Of the 250+ in attendance, 90% were opposed to further parking regulations. At this meeting, Dallas City Council Representative Mark Clayton took full credit for staff's patio parking pursuits, apologized, asked us not to hold staff responsible for his actions, and walked back his concerns about parking ... even though the meeting continued to be about parking.

On April 27, 2017, this late-hours overlay proposal begins working its way through the city hall approval process. The overlay would be applied to specific areas of Dallas going forward.

Some city officials want to use this instead of amending/creating planned development districts [e.g. how Standard Use Permit (SUP) requirements for Lower Greenville and Deep Ellum are handled] because they think this process will be simpler/easier to implement in future areas.

  • This overlay would require essentially all businesses open after midnight to get a SUP in the applicable areas including gas stations, restaurants, bars, retail stores, grocery stores, etc.
  • The initial target area is McKinney Avenue in Uptown. No one knows where they might want to apply it in the future, but the tool is being created so it could be applicable anywhere in the City of Dallas with enough political will.
  • SUPs are permits issued by the Dallas City Council, so they end up being political by their very nature. It is exceedingly difficult just to keep it to the "objective" parts when neighborhood associations don't like a business.

Put very simply: The City of Dallas currently has the means to eliminate bad operators using existing tools. Giving further political clout to City Council to pick winners and losers set a bad precedent and shouldn't even be under consideration.

Tell your city councilperson you want to live in a sophisticated city that supports walkability, outdoor patios, safe neighborhoods, a healthy economy, and late-night serving hours.

As of April 19, 2017, here is how current Dallas City Councilmembers and their May 6 challengers stand on the late-night overlay:

Tell your city councilperson you want to live in a sophisticated city that supports walkability, outdoor patios, safe neighborhoods, a healthy economy, and late-night serving hours.
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