Battle Among Swiss Avenue Mansions Heading to Dallas City Council

The Aldredge House dispute has been pending more than 2 years

After more than two years of fighting over wild parties at The Aldredge House, the battle among neighbors in the Swiss Avenue mansions is heading to the Dallas City Council this month.

Completed in 1917, the 7,000-square-foot Aldredge House was donated to the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance in 1974 as a headquarters and meeting place.

Neighbors claim the house on Swiss Avenue at Parkmont Street became a nuisance in recent years as the Alliance allowed a caterer to stage large weddings and wild parties. Neighbors recorded cell phone video to document their claims.

"And for that to be allowed in a residential neighborhood is a complete loss of good sense," said neighbor Stephanie Stanley, who lives immediately behind the Aldredge House.

Attorney David Dean lives across the street.

"The real friction started developing when they sought to turn the house into a commercial enterprise to raise money so they wouldn't have to maintain it themselves," Dean said.

Dean said friction grew with a discovery that neighbor signatures had evidently been forged on several party tent permit applications filed by the caterer between 2012 and 2015.

Stanley said her mother's signature is misspelled in one instance. Dean said a signature that falsely claims to be his appears for an address that is not his home.

"Now why would I sign my name for a street address I don't own?" Dean asked.

Officials with the Medical Society Alliance denied any involvement in forgery and said the contract with the caterer was canceled years ago.

"We immediately stopped renting our house for those types of events. In the last two-and-a-half years we haven't had those events," said Alliance member RuLan Hebeler.

The Alliance sought a planned-development zoning change to allow more than just residential use of the house. During the process, the city added a special-use permit proposal that would include tougher restrictions and periodic city council review.

"If you're going to allow a non-residential use in a residential neighborhood, you need to have the ability to periodically review this," Dean said.

Leaders of the Alliance complained that the SUP imposes unfair restrictions on The Aldredge House.

"We are working toward a strategic plan and goal to insure that Dallas has a premier house museum," Hebeler said.

The group's new president, Dr. Robert Gunby, said the group pledged not to hold commercial events at the house and find other funding sources to maintain the historic structure. He complained that neighbors often changed positions during the past two years of negotiations.

"Lots of ill will and dishonesty is what's gone on," Gunby said.

Dean and Stanley said large gatherings have continued at The Aldredge House in the past two years, including an outdoor wedding last October.

Supporters of The Aldredge House point out the October 2017 outdoor wedding in the garden was held during the day with no night time reception in the garden. Neighbor video of previous parties was taken in 2015.

The Dallas City Council is due to decide the zoning case on Jan. 24.

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