Card Rooms
Below are updates regarding the card room situation, beginning at the very bottom with my first email on June 1, 2021.
My analysis as to why these are permitted by right can be found by clicking here.
Future emails and updates will be posted here.
Reagan Rothenberger
BTW HOA President
June 25, 2021
Dear neighbors,
By now I'm sure many of your have seen information all over social media regarding the card/poker rooms, but just in case you have not, there will be a Town Hall, Monday June 28th, 7p.m., at the Holy Communion Church at 17405 Muirfield. Cara Mendelsohn and Matt Shaheen will be discussing the issue. I will be there to help represent our neighborhood. I would welcome anyone who is interest to join. This has been in the works for a while but I'm sorry for the short notice - there was some trouble in finding a place to host it.
The pragmatic in me has to say: please don't let these social media posts give you a false sense that petitions are somehow going to keep these card rooms away. As I expressed in my past email, these card rooms are permitted by right due to zoning. My method of operation has not been to get people stirred up, and I want to say thank you to everyone for your support as I and others worked on this issue in a methodical manner. There has been progress.
A few updates since my last email on June 1st:
  • I am proud that the effort began by some of us to have the City of Dallas amend zoning code to require a Special Use Permit for card rooms was finally discussed at the June 3rd City Planning Commission Meeting. I'm hoping that these zoning code revisions will be acted upon swiftly in the comings months so we don't see more of these card rooms all over the city. You can see some discussions at the two hour mark on this video:
  • I have had some constructive conversations with the two property owners/managers to the north and south of the former YouFit. Though I cannot say anything now, in the upcoming weeks I hope to provide more information on how these property owners might play a role in the future of the YouFit site. I know this is vague, but bear with me.
  • The III Forks is a new issue. It is my opinion that the III Forks site will in fact be a card room and very soon, as there are few development constraints that would hinder them from moving forward as a fast clip. With that being said, someone who I have been working with on these issues has personally taken a considerable amount of time to reach out to the owners and talk to them about their business plans - even visiting the site with them. From what I understand, it will have high membership fees, fine dining, etc. I can tell you that this site will be more like a private club than just a poker room open to the public. Though the use is still not ideal, this one does not give me as much heartburn as the potential card room on our side of the tollway which appears to be more "fly-by-night", as it were.
  • Yes, it appears that these card rooms' counterparts in other cities are often open 24/7. I do not know with certainty if that will be the case here. I have not found a code in city ordinances that would prohibit such hours.
  • I have had discussions with Cara Mendelsohn regarding traffic mitigation, parking enforcement, among other potential issues on these sites. I know that we will be working together to make sure the impact to our neighborhood is as minimal as possible.
  • If these card rooms open, you can rest assured that the Collin County DA and DPD already have them on their radar, and I'm sure this will be a primary topic discussed at the Town Hall.
Thank you for your support,
Reagan Rothenberger
BTW HOA President
On June 8th, Councilmember Cara Mendelsohn and Dallas City Staff were present at the monthly BTW HOA Meeting to discuss the issue of Card Rooms.
On June 3rd, the Dallas Planning Commission hears concerns of the Card Room zoning fiasco, and agrees unanimously to review the issue in order to amend zoning code to require Special Use Permits (SUP's) for card rooms in the future. Unfortunately, such a zoning code change will not occur in time to keep card rooms out of our area. Planning Commission discussion can be seen at this link, starting at the two hour mark. This effort took much time to prepare for, and is due to a small group of local residents who voiced their concerns as early as February to CM Mendelsohn and City Staff even though the card room was rumor.
June 1, 2021
Good evening neighbors,
I hope that everyone had a relaxing Memorial Day weekend. My week is off to a busy start.
At some point I’m sure everyone has heard the rumor about the Poker Room coming into the former YouFit space at Briargrove and Dallas Parkway. Unfortunately, it appears to now be a reality. Those of us who have been watching this site for a while have noted updated permitting information on Dallas' permitting software that show "52 Social" is the name of the business going in the site. 52 of course being the number of cards in a deck.
As you may recall in January, the rumor spread about a "Poker Room" going in the former YouFit. Several neighbors naturally did some zoning research and by reading the code as-is, felt confident that the use would require an Special Use Permit (SUP) to proceed. Though I was not on the board at the time, I was able to be a part of the conversation, and after a cursory glance I agreed.
At some point not long thereafter some discussion was had among Bill Hoyt, Bob Treat and City Staff, which led us to reevaluate the SUP argument. After some research myself, I realized that a poker room could in fact be allowed by right. The short story is when the City of Dallas approved a permit for a Poker Room site back in 2020 down on Harry Hines, it set into motion some precedents regarding land uses that ultimately could allow these Poker Rooms just about anywhere in the city. Volunteers would not have readily known this information in January with how the code reads. If you would like to learn more specifically about how zoning played a role into allowing a poker room at this site, please see my "analysis" at the following link. 
At that time no actions had been performed at the site, no permits had been pulled, and counter rumors were heard that the tenants looking at the site had moved on. With this in mind, it was still decided that several of us as well as some Bent Tree North residents should get with Cara Mendelsohn immediately and ask for a review of zoning code to better define where Poker Rooms could operate. Cara agreed this was a big issue, and things were really quiet at the site for a couple of months, and we were hoping that a zoning amendment could occur in time before something did in fact come along.
Though the topic of poker rooms will soon be taken up by the Plan Commission to determine how they should be better regulated in the city, it's not going to be in time to keep one out of our area. 52 Social has already begun pulling permits at the former YouFit site. Apparently they submitted permits as early as March, though permitting software did not reflect this until recently.
I want to specifically recognized Bob Treat's work in ensuring that permitting is transparent for this site. He is doing great work in keeping the city on it's toes and has spent copious amounts of time to assist in these efforts and document their process to keep them on the level, including photographing the site. I know that he and others involved will make sure that the city will be enforcing development standards, enhancing permitting transparency, and ensuring future safety for the site. There are still some lingering questions about parking minimums that we are seeking answers for.
And of course, the big question is the true legality of these poker rooms since state law is being muddled. Some counties have taken up cases against them in the past: Our Attorney General has not offered an interpretation though asked repeatedly:
ACTION REQUESTED! Please email our D12 Plan Commissioner Kristine Schwope at and Cara Mendelsohn at no later than Wednesday evening if you are opposed to poker rooms operating near residential neighborhoods. The issue will be brought up at this Thursday's Plan Commission meeting and though any change is unlikely to keep them out of our area, the city needs to know if we are opposed.
Secondly, Cara Mendelsohn as well as city staff will be present at the June 8th Board Meeting to discuss the matter and how we got here. The notice of meeting and Zoom link will go out Wednesday evening.
I want you to know that this issue has weighed heavily on those of us watching this site and working to find a potential way to stop it before it got here, and I wanted to let you know that the HOA hasn't been sitting on its hands. I am happy to answer your questions you have as best I can, but please understand what I've laid out here is about all I know. If I learn any more info about the site and any further progress made, I will be sure to let you know.
In service,
Reagan Rothenberger
BTW HOA President