SMU Gets Approval For Signs, Signs They’ve — Oops — Already Installed

SMU is a strange entity. It’s a freestanding, independent organization, but still needs University Park approval for most things.

With that, SMU came before the UP City Council Tuesday night to ask for approval for a series of signs dotting the campus. During the pre-meeting presentation, though, a few councilmembers recognized something: some of these signs already existed.

“I guess it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission,” said Councilmember Dawn Moore.

During the main session, UP Mayor Dick Davis asked SMU attorney Paul Ward a fairly straight-forward question: “What if we said no?”

After a few chuckles, Ward responded.

“There would be some deconstruction, and much conversation at the university for the legal department to come before the construction department,” he said.

No need. Councilmembers approved the signs.

20 thoughts on “SMU Gets Approval For Signs, Signs They’ve — Oops — Already Installed

  • August 23, 2012 at 10:56 am
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    “after a few chuckles” SMU does what they want when they want. The Chase Bank Building goes into its 11th year!

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  • August 23, 2012 at 12:08 pm
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    And they water their football practice field all day during the summer with impunity. What watering restrictions?

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  • August 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm
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    Q: “What if we said no?” A: “Then we would go back to your bosses and have them instruct you to say yes. Don’t forget, we run SMUniversity Park.”

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  • August 23, 2012 at 1:46 pm
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    @UPDdad,

    Half laugh, half knowing nod.

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  • August 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm
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    Though it definitely ought not give SMU the sort of carte blanche it enjoys, and post facto approval of anything seems like a very poor example to show our kids and students, it’s also worth remembering, when evaluating the dynamic here, that SMU was here first, and that UP began as a collection of faculty homes. I’m not saying it isn’t high time to rethink that relationship. I’m only saying it’s always a struggle to reorient a relationship that carries that sort of inertia. UP has literally been taking cues from mothership SMU since day one.

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  • August 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm
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    Man, how I tire of hearing, “SMU was here first.” For one thing, they weren’t HERE first (HERE being my property). They just think they own my property. I was here before either of my next door neighbors, or most of the people on my street. Should I be treated with preference to them by the city? There is nobody in the state who would say yes to that. But it gets tossed out often in any “SMU is a bad neighbor” argument (and SMU is indeed a horrible neighbor.)

    Z, I know that in careful reading of your post you are NOT saying that being here first is a good excuse, you’re just explaining the mindset of our so-called public officials. But it’s important to stress that that mindset is quite detrimental and is based on an irrelevant fact.

    All that said, I don’t think that is the mindset of the Council. I’ve heard them use that as an excuse, but they have also made it clear before that they sometimes take orders from “important people”, all of whom seem to be quite loyal to SMU.

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  • August 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm
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    for pete’s sake,
    if they’re their signs,
    in the middle of their campus,
    why do they need a permit?
    oh, i know, they need the permit
    so that they have to pay the fee
    (tax) to the city.

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  • August 23, 2012 at 7:52 pm
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    Geez we’re talking about a couple of red brick entry signs like the dozens of others dotting the streets in and around the campus. Some guy in the SMU building department screwed up under time and budget pressure and had his work crews build them before they were approved, (which they would have been anyway because they conform to the sign code like all the others). Should the council have made them tear the entry signs down? No, that would have been stupid. Should the council have fined the school for building without permission? Yes, that would have been smart, because this whole “SMU is a bad neighbor” thing is 100% perception.

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  • August 23, 2012 at 11:53 pm
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    I won’t speak for the others, but since I was the one talking the loudest here, I want to make it clear that I was not complaining about SMU putting up signs and whether they did it before or after they got their rubber-stamp. If it had been SMU or anyone else, in this case, the council would have and should have done the same thing. So I agree 100% with Pete, and all but the last couple sentences of Rico’s post. I’d imagine the others posting above say the same thing.

    What we WERE commenting on was the fact that it really doesn’t matter what they do because they always get whatever the want, whether it is good for the community or not. That’s certainly an opinion, but it is one based on experience, and it appears to me that I’m not the only one sharing that experience. It is true that that particular concept (SMU seemingly controlling things) is 100% perception, but the concept of them being a bad neighbor is absolutely not just perception.

    When I talk about neighbor, I don’t mean just a member of the community. I don’t know where Rico lives, but if he is directly adjacent to the SMU campus, he would know what rotten neighbors they are, and I should probably use a stronger word. They don’t care two cents about how they affect those that are their actual neighbors, and they take that attitude with an arrogant swagger that makes things even worse.

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  • August 24, 2012 at 10:17 am
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    One man’s “arrogant swagger” is another man’s confident stride, ie, a matter of perception.

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  • August 24, 2012 at 11:16 am
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    George W., I didn’t know you posted on this blog!

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  • August 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm
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    If you don’t like to live next to a university, and the necessary issues that sometimes come from living next to a large, successful institution and one comprised of primarily 20-somethings, then don’t move next to a university, that simple. Don’t complain when it was your decision to move close to the university. Your fault, UPDad, for your lack of foresight, imo. And think, you could have been stuck next to an ugly, mediocre, crumbling campus instead. I’m sure you would have loved that.
    And does no one recognize the economic value that SMU brings to UP through thousands of students paying rent, shopping, and eating in UP? You’re welcome. And if it wasn’t for the university students, all those crappy, old apartments in UP wouldn’t be worth nearly as much as they are. You’re welcome for the property values, too.

    Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you get everything you want. If you don’t want to be bothered, UPDad, move to a farm in west Texas.

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  • August 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm
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    @SMU-UPer-perhaps u missed the day in business class where they taught supply and demand in economics, but, given UP and HP’s location, I believe our property values would be just fine without SMU. It’s a little thing called location, location, location. Given that u seem to believe we r all a bunch of stuck-up rich folks, I think we could carry our economic weight without SMU. Please thank all the Park Cities residents who make financial aid possible for the bevy of students at SMU who receive it. The symbiotic relationship should work both ways, brother.

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  • August 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm
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    @UPdad is absolutely correct. Many years ago, I bought a home several blocks away from SMU. SMU was not near me. SMU though has a very long outlook. Slowly they bought up the properties on the blocks closest to them. As Peruna bought the properties, they let them decay, so that the surrounding properties became available as people sold. Fait accompli. Then, they got zoning changed. And little things like blocking, closing, and moving streets.

    @UPdad is right. They are not a good neighbor. If they maintained and upgraded their existing property, that’s one thing. But SMU is intent on slow expansion and takeover of part of the residential character of University Park.

    After meetings in the 90s with SMU’s lawyers and planners, we saw the handwriting and moved west, although not to a farm.

    SMU is not a good neighbor. I wish the city council and P&Z would, for once, just say no.

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  • August 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm
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    @SMU-UPer, Why are we “welcome for the property values”? Take a little time and DCAD an array of properties next to SMU, then DCAD an array of properties not close to SMU. You will find that proximity to SMU actually decreases the property values. Also, if there were no university students, “all those crappy, old apartments in UP” would be very well maintained single family complexes/duplexes/homes in about .1 seconds.

    I like having SMU local, but don’t pretend that UP actually needs SMU for anything.

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  • August 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm
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    @NFW, when I moved here, I was NOT next to the campus. But then they continued to buy property (which is their right) and then demand the council change the zoning from residential to campus (which is completely against the zoning committee’s own stated mission–to protect individual home owners from encroachment by big entities). So, no, it is not someone’s fault for happening to move in. If you moved into a house and the house next door was a nice pretty house and you therefore thought they would be good neighbors, and then found them to be playing loud music at all hours of the night, throwing trash in your yard on a daily basis, and treated you in anything but a neighborly manner, would you think, “oh well, it’s my own fault for moving next to a jerk”? Something tells me you would not.

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  • August 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm
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    Sorry, I meant to address that to SMU-UPer, not to NFW. Sorry NFW!

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  • August 24, 2012 at 8:13 pm
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    you folks do know that the entire city council is comprised of active SMU alumni, don’t you?

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  • August 24, 2012 at 9:02 pm
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    Hata,

    That is simply coincidence.
    Really.
    Sure

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  • August 27, 2012 at 10:28 am
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    One thing you can always count on with this blog – lots of negative comments about SMU.

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