Monday, November 5, 2007

SUP Hearing Damns Two

Last Thursday (Nov. 1st) I was unable to stay for the entire SUP hearing 'cause I had to scurry off to work. Fellow member Scott has the info. for you:

Zoning Commission Results for 11/01/2007

As I mentioned in a bulletin previously, today was the day for six Deep Ellum establishments to go before the Dallas City Zoning Commission. The Commission was to to decide if the applicants would be fowarded to Dallas City Council to have their SUP (Specific Use Permit) reviewed. In this new cilimate in Deep Ellum, bars and clubs must have an SUP and if it gets denied it means their existence as a bar will cease.

Those who were denied today will not be allowed to exist in the capacity of a bar or dance club. Those who did get recommended for the City Council today are not out of the woods yet. Final approval is up to City Council's discretion.

Robert Wilonsky of the Dallas Observer has an intersting post in his "Unfair Park" blog. Read the post when you get a chance and keep up with what he writes about this area--he's good.

The Zoning Commission has a member of staff review alll SUP applications before meeting about them. It is interesting to note, all venues received a staff recommended review, but the Zoning Commission did not approve them all. So, here are the results:

Curtain Club/Liquid

Asked for an extension and was granted one.

Monkey Bar

It was almost denied; its fate still hangs in the balance. One of the commission members motioned for an extension to allow the owner to collect more information and that motion was granted. There were four residents from the town homes behind it that spoke in opposition. The main complaint: noise. The building where the Monkey Bar existh has a history of being a bar that far predates the existence of those town homes: it was the Expo Lounge, once-upon-a-time.


Approved with no opposition and people did speak on their behalf.


TomCat's was denied. A couple of people spoke in opposition, a couple of people on behalf, including members of DEEP. Many negative things were said about it with little facts behind it: allegations of drug, guns, violence and loud rock music--not to mention the unsavory characters (sounds like a fun place to me). Oh, did I mention they said it didn't look pretty? And we can't forget the crying elderly woman that presented herself at the podium--difficult to beat that. The funny thing is: it only had eight incidents reported to the police in five years. I am not sure if they will appeal--I encourage them to do so.

Red Blood Club

Approved to go before the Dallas City Council with no opposition. Many spoke on their behalf; several affiliated with DEEP did too, including Frank Campagna and his daughter Amber. Frank has been a member of the Deep Ellum community since 1982. He is owner (along with Kirk) and proprietor of Kettle Art. He and crew were responsible for the "TunnelVision" artwork that perished this year with the tunnel (which the city approved, of course)

Red Blood still has to be approved by the Council. There is no guarantee they will, but it seems likely. And if they get approved, they will have to renew it in a year or two. I wouldn't get too comfortable; there are bigger plans at work here--I'll talk more on that later....

Club One

Shelley had two hearings in front of two different commissions. First was her after hours dance hall permit (allows her to stay open til 4 AM). The second hearing was what everyone else there was seeking: approval to go to before the City Council to have their SUP (Specific Use Permit) reviewed.

The after hours permit was denied and I believe that takes effect almost immediately (not tonight though). She was also denied to go before the City Council for approval to remain a bar/dance club. Many people spoke on her behalf; four or five, most of them affiliated with DEEP. Lord Byron, who spawned Panoptikon and spins on that night, spoke on her behalf too. He has been very supportive of Deep Ellum for a long time. He also supports DEEP and attends our meetings as his heavy travel schedule allows.

At this point, it is not really clear when Club One's SUP denial takes effect. She is going to appeal and she thinks she will be allowed to stay open until then, but it is unclear. If you love you some Panoptikon, best go see her tonight.

Close to twelve people affiliated with DEEP attended the Zoning Commission. We thank everyone for coming out--it was a very long meeting. Thanks to Benny for coming out too. He manages several of the parking lots here and is owner of Benny's Food Mart on Main (make sure and check him out).

I have much more to say on all this and the "new vision" of Deep Ellum, including those quotes I promised last Dallas City Council meeting (and audio to back them up). It will have to be this weekend though; I am headed to Panoptikon.


This Thursday (Nov. 8) come to City Hall, sixth floor to see the City Planning Committee Hearing. They need YOUR support. Don't be apathetic.

Clubs going up:

Elm St. Bar
Monkey Bar

I think a few others might be going up (Double Wide, The Bone, and Amsterdam), but I will be sure by tomorrow.

Don't let a few people's "vision" of a Deep Ellum with no live music, tattoos, or nightlife period stunt all the positive stuff going on down here.

Also, if you dig the Monkey Bar and live in the area, please write a letter on their behalf and send it to me ( They are facing a small group of residents and need their neighbor's support.


michaeldra said...

Dallas oh our Dallas, how much we love it so. Only in Dallas can I walk out of my door and decide to become almost anything I want from the street to City Hall. Can you do this in any other city. Ive been to 72 cities in 7 countries and I think not. Hence I digress. This is DJ Money Mike, like Shelly I have been a Club One member, through the good and the Bad since the beginning. I have danced on its stages and DJ'ed in the Booth on several occasions and I know now this will be a bad thing thats going on right now. However, like they say about society. Dont let a few bad apples spoil the whole barrell. When it was all white it had a few problems, when it was all gay it had a few problems. Now that its got hip hop lets close it down. I dont think so. If we where in any other city in America, these issues would be the same. No matter the club size or music selection or crowd these are clubs. We are dealing with people enjoying themselves and some taking it to extremes. I have been partaker and victim to some of the issues but that does not stop my loyalty to all the events that fit my needs at Club One. OK maybe the Club did not do enough community service. but for any resident that lives in that area or any club that might not be happy that they have changed to Hip Hop and taken their crowd, does that mean lets stop all events. You must realize that if young African American dont have anything to do in Deep Ellum, which until Club One you where worried about young African American just wlaking around, they simply had no where to go but wanted to enjoy the in crowd just like everybody else. Club One beefed up security. They have off duty police security they have everything that the city and they know are required but that is not enough. Being an African American older DJ that has been through enjoying myself at Club One for 16 years. I know that together we can fight this in a positive manner and do more and assure the City Council that Shelly is a good owner. She does not cry wolf at the drop of a hat. She makes sure that her patrons are well behaved and are not leaving her neighborhood or establishment in shambles every night that they are open. Techno or Hip Hop. There is no place like Club One and I and my fellow Club DJ's and Promoters will organize ourselves to create a petition or what ever is needed to make sure that the City Counsel hears our voice in this silent but deadly decision to make these clubs go through this with stealth way of trying to shut down these Clubs that are just trying to let people enjoy themselves. Feed their children, and create an atmosphere that is neighborhood freindly and not detrimental to anyone. We cannot weed out all the bad apples. Is'nt that the Dallas Police job if we find it necessary to call them.

mamaone said...

Thank you for the kind comments about Club One. We tried for over 2 years to bring the "dance" crowd, both gay and straight, back to One, but the promoters who spent large amounts of money on DJ's and advertising continuously lost money. Crowds are hard to bring into an area with the negative press Deep Ellum was getting at the time coupled with traffic barricades. Police giving tickets in large force in the street and in our parking lot - in front of our door - further discouraged the few brave souls who attempted to get to One for a special event. Since our purchase of One in 2004, we have met many great and creative people, every one wishing to see us not just survive, but succeed. We pumped in a lot of money just to keep the doors open and were seriously considering just "taking the loss", until one young promoter convinced us to try a regular "Hip Hop" night. We sat down with him and our list of requirements, including "beefed-up" security both inside for our staff and patrons and outside for the neighborhood. We knew this would add a dimension of transparancy to our operation, but we felt it necessary to maintain the safe and fun environment club One had had since it first opened in 1991. Our tag line is "the one club for every one" so "Hip Hop" began on a regular basis. Our Monday nights soon began to make more than the other nights combined, so when another Hip hop promoter asked for regular Fridays, we made a similar deal with him. Our Saturday nights are still open and could be anything if a promoter wants to bring an event to us for our approval. I will say it has been a learning experience for all of us, but we have managed to keep it safe and secure, we keep out those who want to start trouble even before they get to the door - "publicly intoxicated" persons who have come from other venues trying to get into One for the after-hours music and dancing are detained outside. There have been a few skirmishes inside, but those have not resulted in catastrophy. Because we have a dance floor, we are a dance hall and are required to obtain a Dance Hall License from the City of Dallas allowing people to legally dance in our establishment until 2:00am. The "Late Hours" portion is a separate license allowing people to legally dance from 2 til 4am. It does not allow us to stay open nor does it require us to close - it allows our patrons to dance. The neighborhood, represented by the Deep Ellum Association opposed our continuing to have our Late Hours permit this year because we had business - noisy customers who started going home between 3 and 4:30. Our customers do not, by the way, stop on their way home to burgarize other people's property. Our off-duty police also encourage them to get in their cars and go home and not linger on the parking lots which we control. The reason clubs who have Dance Hall Licenses are forced to close at 2:00 without the "Late Hours" permit is because the police can severely punish the club owner and manager (even take them to jail) if anyone inside the establishment is making any movement that could be "judged" as dancing - tapping a foot, bobbing a head, etc. I assure you it is about the dancing - amazing isn't it in the 21st century, in a big city like Dallas, that we are required to have a License to allow people to dance at all??? This was our 4th time to go before the Appeals Board for our Late Hours permit which was automatically denied because we are within 1000 feet of residential property. A survey which we were required to pay the City to do in 2004 confirmed the 1000 foot proximity of residential property. We went to the hearing with materials to support the facts that we should be allowed an exemption to the 1000 foot rule (including over 100 support letters from residents, patrons, and business owners near us) and be granted the Late Hours License. We spent four hours in that hearing that morning being bombarded with crime statisiscs presented not just for 3025, but the entire 3000 block of Main, 2 incidents in particular set the "fear" tone for the meeting -one, a "shooting in the hand" which supposedly happened at 3:00am in one of our parking lots - the person "shot" did not report the incident until after 5:00am as he was "on his way to the hospital" broken own in his car at Camp Wisdom and Hwy 67-over 10 miles away, with at least three hospitals much closer. NO ONE from the neighborhood had reported hearing shots fired and none of our customers, staff or off-duty police were aware of any "shots" being fired. One particular Police Sargeant, who has repeatedly yelled at Shelley and other staff members kept saying over and over at the hearing that "it's only a matter of time". Yes, I will have to agree it is "only a matter of time until anything can happen" - good or bad. The other incident which created quite a stir was a police report of weapons and drugs being found in a vehicle at our location - yes, the vehicle was pulled over, by the police into our parking lot and searched and the police found what they were hoping to find. The police did not include the reports of all the other people they have pulled over into our parking lot, infront our our building and given tickets to over the past three+ years - but it was "only a matter of time" with all the people they have stopped that they would find something. I have yet to understand how club One can possibly control what anyone chooses to carry in their vehicle passing by our location. Most of the "public intoxication" arrests were not persons who had been in our club, but rather those trying to get into our club. At any rate, it was perhaps a "bad" morning for us and certainly a tiring one. It was gratifying to know that it did bring joy to the self appointed "King of Deep Ellum" who was seen that afternoon "high-fiving" with his cronies behind the City Council Chambers during our Planning Commission Hearing-pleased to be able to use the loss of our Late Hours Exemption against us. I imagine the "police reports" mentioned by one of the commissioners referring to club One came from the same source. The loss of the late hours license may or may not be harmful to us in the long run - our staff will be home and in bed and out of "danger" before the Police patrols thin out and their vehicles won't be out there to be broken into by the ever roaming homeless population of the downtown area. We are exploring several great suggestions to make up the revenues lost in cutting our hours by 1/3rd. Many in leadership in Dallas really believe that everyone should be home and in bed by midnight - just check out the DART schedule - when will the last trains run to/from Deep Ellum???
Our Late Hours License officially ended on November 16th and we have begun closing at 2 as we must to be sure we comply with the laws. As for the SUP, we have filed our appeal ($400.00) to continue to go before the City Council on December 12th. It will take a 2/3 majority of the City Council to approve our SUP, but we are working to provide information, gather support and hope for a non-prejudiced decision. We also invite ideas and comments and want to respond to any concerns - my email is -"MamaOne"