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Dallas City Council has directed city staff to develop a zoning modification which will create a hardship for businesses (and their employees) in Dallas’ most popular urban corridors.

Dallas nightlife — Will it become like New York's and San Francisco's? Or like New Haven's and San Bernardino's?
More and more people are moving into new condos and townhomes next to Dallas's most vibrant entertainment districts.

Uptown. Deep Ellum. West Dallas, Oak Lawn,The Cedars and the Bishop Arts District, to name a few.

The overwhelming majority of the businesses in these districts are good neighbors. But last year, some homeowners and apartment renters expressed concern about the noise, traffic, litter, crime and other problems caused by some of the people patronizing a few of the businesses near where they live. 

The City of Dallas has many laws on the books to address these issues. Police and private security firms are available to keep residents and visitors safe. And, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission provides yet another layer of oversight for bars and many restaurants.

Still, some residents say more needs to be done. The businesses are okay with that . . . so long as whatever gets done penalizes only the few bad operators, not everyone.

Surprise! The politicians' come up with a plan that penalizes everyone
In 2015 and 2016, meetings took place between some city officials and residents (the businesses were not invited). The result? A city department was instructed to explore two possible amendments to the Dallas Development Code:

  • One amendment would give the city the power to insist that any restaurant, bar, entertainment venue, or other business in Dallas wanting to stay open between midnight and 6 a.m. obtain a special-use permit. Such a permit would, of course, cost the business owner hundreds of dollars. And, of course, they would need to invest hours talking to city officials and filling out paperwork. With no guarantee, whatsoever, the city would actually give them the permit.

  • The other amendment would require restaurants, bars, sidewalk cafes, and entertainment venues with uncovered outdoor seating and entertainment areas to develop new parking spaces for those using the outdoor areas. Right at a time when we're trying to make our city more pedestrian-friendly. And, those spaces would have to be available, even when it's raining dogs and cats and no one is using the patios.

Many business owners say such amendments, if passed, will cause them to simply shut down. Or shut down their patios. Or move to Plano, Frisco, Irving or Addison where they don't have to deal with such bureaucracy.

You'd think the politicians would be concerned with that. But when city officials announced the first town hall meeting on these proposed amendments last fall, they said only homeowners could attend. The business owners most affected by the changes only learned of the public meeting second-hand. Still, they showed up with 300 supporters and demanded the city let them be a part of a process they had been shut out of for almost a year.

Save the Patio comes to the rescue
In November 2016, Save the Patio (now called Stop the Curfew) became a movement. Its members include the owners of some of Dallas's largest and smallest restaurants and bars. And their employees. And their customers. And many nearby residents, who enjoy Dallas's late-night patio culture and don't want the government turning our vibrant big city into a quiet small town.

Our goals are to:

  • stop the backroom deals by politicians that will hurt business owners 
  • halt these dangerous ordinances from becoming law, and
  • work with the city to come up with sensible solutions that will respect neighbors and keep our entertainment districts lively after midnight.