Fort Worth City Council District 6 candidate, Dr. Jared Williams, joined residents in signing a petition to support the halt of the city's Zoning Commission's recent unanimous decision to allow a 24/7 Poker Room in Hulen Pointe Shopping Mall.
A conditional permit was issued to allow for the poker room, which is a zoning exception typically given to property owners using a space not normally allowed in the zoning district.
"The unanimous decision by the Fort Worth Zoning Commission members has sent shock waves through neighborhoods across Fort Worth," Dr. Jared Williams said. "Residents are appalled that the conditional use permit process would be used to usher in gambling establishments into Fort Worth neighborhoods. This is far too important a discussion about the future of all of Fort Worth to use this zoning process for approval."
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The poker room is currently zoned as an intensive commercial location, which gives a broad range of uses for the area from bank to healthcare center to home improvement store or nightclub.
More than 400 people have signed the petition via Change.org, including Dr. Williams, with many commenting on their concerns.
"We've lived here for over 30 years and this proposed Poker Room is unacceptable for our neighborhood," LeAnne Bernard said. "It is too close to churches, schools and homes. We shop, dine and go to the movie theater with our family (including young children) right next to where this 24 Hr. Poker Room would be located. This absolutely is not what this area needs."
"I am not happy about this," area resident, Amanda Manis commented. "There is inadequate parking, and the noise from a 24hr business right next to residential areas is not okay."
Dr. Williams presented the petition and concerns about the Zoning Commission at the City Council Meeting Tuesday.
"I believe that this process demonstrates the failure by city leaders to be fully transparent and actively engage neighborhoods and residents on crucial issues," Dr. Williams said. "This is why people lose faith in our city leaders and I hope they will listen to residents and reject this horrible decision by the Zoning Commission and staff."