Dallas Says Empty Lot Can't Turn into Field of Dreams

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCDFW.com
    The city of Dallas issued a "stop work" order on the lot on the corner of Walnut Hill Lane and Hollow Way Road.

    If you build it, the city of Dallas will shut it down.

    Michael Salim bought a lot on the corner of Walnut Hill Lane and Hollow Way Road just two doors down from his Preston Hollow home. He covered the land with fake grass and drew a baseball diamond on the turf.

    Dallas Halts Work on AstroTurfed Empty Lot

    [DFW] Dallas Halts Work on AstroTurfed Empty Lot
    If you build it, the city of Dallas will shut it down. (Published Tuesday, Nov 10, 2009)

    But then the games really started.

    The city of Dallas issued a "stop work" order on the property after some neighbors started raised concerns about the project.

    "It's a larger issue," said Charlie Marshall, who lives next door to the lot. "We were not consulted about this in advance. Our view, if AstroTurf and an athletic field constitutes a permissible way to mothball a lot, then this neighborhood is ruined."

    But Salim said that he bought the land as an investment. He said he recently painted a baseball diamond on the turf, but does not intend for the property to become a baseball field -- especially because two large trees stand in the middle of the makeshift diamond.

    Marshall said Salim is violating numerous city codes on electricity and land use.

    Calls to the Dallas City Code office posted on the "stop work" order were not returned.

    Marshall and his wife said they never heard of Salim's plan for the lot and have passed out a letter to more than 100 nearby residents, calling for people to speak up and call their City Council member with concerns. In the letter, the Marshall's call the land a "Field of Screams."

    Marshall also said the fake grass and large mounds of sand in the lot are an eyesore.

    "I know I can't impose my taste on anyone else, but I can rely on the zoning codes," Marshall said.

    Salim said he doesn't plan to make the land a public use lot for the neighborhood. He said he made the land more flat and even installed a sump pump to make sure water doesn't flood over into any neighbors' yards. When asked why he installed fake grass, Salim said it was cheaper than sod in the long run.

    "It's low-maintenance," Salim said.

    But not everyone in the neighborhood is against the idea of a minifield in the area.

    "I thought it looked great," said Joan Jackson, who lives across the street from Salim. "It looks nice, it looks clean, it will stay looking clean. There won't be a problem -- I mean, they won't have to water it and use up resources. I cannot imagine how it would have a negative impact on property values."

    "I guess if you look for reasons to look at it negatively, then you could find a reason, but I don't look at it that way," said Carla Steinberg, who also lives on the street. "I look at it very positively."