Was the Dallas City Council's Vote on a North Oak Cliff Fitness Center Illegal? A New Lawsuit Alleges It Was

The red ribbons that marked the huge trees standing in the way of a fancy north Oak Cliff fitness center vanished the day after Methodist Dallas Medical Center triumphed in a zoning case earlier this month that was contentious, bizarre and at times sketchy.But the battle to preserve the green space -- a buffer between the hospital and its northern neighbors -- is not yet over. A faction of East Kessler Park residents may have lost at the council horseshoe, but now one of them has taken the city to court.No one can remember the last time the city lost a zoning lawsuit -- but neither can I or anyone else recall a case like this one. Given the weird way that Methodist finally eked out its narrow late-night win, no one -- not even the victors -- should have felt satisfied about how the deal got done.While most anyone can file a lawsuit, several legal observers told me that this one, filed on behalf of longtime East Kessler resident Katherine Homan, is far from frivolous. She and her supporters had their first day in court Wednesday as both parties' attorneys agreed that the pecan grove would remain untouched for now as state District Judge Bonnie Goldstein set a temporary injunction hearing for March 13.Homan, who was joined in the courtroom this week by two supportive neighbors, remained aghast about the zoning case. “We have been told so many things by Methodist and the city over the years, I just don’t trust anyone to do the right thing,” she said.Her lawsuit is aimed at the City Council’s decision during a Feb. 13 zoning hearing to suspend its own rule and allow a property owner to withdraw opposition to the fitness center a day after the deadline passed for such action.  Continue reading...

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