Coppell Chronicle Vol. 3, No. 43
Dumpster Location Leads to Frosty Relations • Senior Living Rejected Near DART Bridge • Coppell ISD Goes on Shopping Spree • Code Violators Given 90-Day Deadlines
Patrick Svitek, the primary political correspondent for the Texas Tribune, maintains a publicly accessible spreadsheet of candidate filings. I was perusing that spreadsheet on Monday evening, a couple of hours after the filing deadline for the March primaries had passed, because I love a good time as much as the next guy.
The spreadsheet listed more than a dozen candidates who want to succeed U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess in Congressional District 26, which includes the Denton County portion of Coppell. One of those names leapt out at me.
Wait for it.
[overly dramatic pause]
Y’all ready for this?
[extremely dramatic pause]
Dumpster Location Leads to Frosty Relations
The future location of an ice cream parlor is already the site of a cold war.
Coppell resident Diana Ahmad is developing the nearly finished two-story building at 767 West Main Street. Last year, the City Council approved her plans for a pair of apartments above as many as three retail shops. On Tuesday, the council considered Ahmad’s request for a zoning change so she can lease space to restaurants, including one called Mr. Henry’s Ice Cream.
Restaurants require a dumpster, and that’s led to a conflict with the owners of a neighboring property. Ahmad wanted to place a trash bin on her southern property line, right next to where Coppell residents Eli and Ann Dragon, their employees, and their clients park at their Main Street Retirement Planning office.
“I know it’s going to be smelly,” Eli Dragon told the council during Tuesday’s public hearing. “When I look at that back door, and how far they have to drag their trash in order to get over to that dumpster, that’s going to be a mess there. And I know there’s going to be flies and rodents and everything.”
When the Coppell Planning and Zoning Commission considered this case last month, they approved the plans by a 5-0 vote, on the condition that Ahmad place the dumpster in the middle of her rear parking lot. (See “Dream of Ice Cream Shop May Melt Away” in Vol. 3, No. 39.) However, the city’s top planner — Matt Steer — subsequently learned that there is an Atmos gas valve in the middle of the lot. Putting an enclosed trash bin on top of it would not be safe.
Consequently, Steer recommended that the council overrule the commission and allow Ahmad to put the dumpster close to — but not on — the southern property line. The revised plans call for the dumpster to be angled away from the Dragons’ property. The closest corner would be 2 feet from the property line; the second-closest corner would be 7.5 feet from the line.
Ahmad said she got Republic Services to adjust the route of their trash trucks — southbound instead of northbound — “because we wanted to go above and beyond to be a good neighbor to the Dragons,” she said. “We have moved the dumpster off our property line, even though that should still be our right to put it there.”
Despite the dumpster’s slight move, the Dragons were not moved.
“The bottom line is, this property, because it has already been built, is not suitable for restaurant use,” Ann Dragon said.
The Dragons reminded the council that they are owner-occupants of their Old Town property, while Ahmad would be just a landlord. However, Ahmad said she and her husband plan to move into their Main Street building after their daughter graduates from Coppell High School. When that happens, Ahmad insisted, they will not be living among filth.
“I’m a very clean person,” she said. “My properties will be very clean. My tenants will be very clean. And that dumpster will be picked up frequently.”
Council Member Biju Mathew asked Steer where else the dumpster could go. Steer said placing it on the north end of Ahmad’s lot would put it near the entrance to Gary and Michelle Cramer’s home above their Let It Shine boutique. Ahmad added that the north end presents conflicts with Oncor electrical equipment.
Council Member Brianna Hinojosa-Smith wanted to know if there were any other options for the dumpster that would allay the Dragons’ concerns. Steer said Ahmad had tried — without success — to get in touch with the owners of Tangerine Salon about possibly sharing their dumpster.
Mayor Wes Mays then offered a suggestion: The council could table the decision while their staff worked with Atmos on moving the valve. “That seems to be the stumbling block, the location of the valve,” Mays said, but Ahmad wasn’t having it.
“We’re almost done with this project,” she said. “There’s no way we can tear up all the ground to pull up all the pipes.”
The mayor immediately replied, “You know, I was just offering something, and I don’t know why you’re turning me down.”
That kerfuffle was rendered moot a couple of minutes later, when Council Member Mark Hill went a different direction; he made a motion to approve the revised proposal as presented. Mathew seconded his motion, and Don Carroll and Jim Walker voted with them. Hinojosa-Smith and Kevin Nevels dissented.
So there you have it. Although the Dragons are certainly disappointed, I’m happy to know there will soon be an ice cream shop within walking distance of my home. Is anybody else eager to sample Mr. Henry’s treats?
Senior Living Rejected Near DART Bridge
The Dragons weren’t the only disappointed people at Town Center on Tuesday. Earlier that evening, the City Council rejected a proposal to construct an apartment building catering to older tenants.