Near Southside-based attorney Sean Lynch had recently returned from downtown’s Family Law Center to his Rosedale Street office and its familiar west-facing mural. Painted by local artist DeMario Davis, the colorful piece depicts a greeting card from Lynch and includes snippets of scenes from around the city, the Fort Worth Vaqueros’ logo, and a short, welcoming message listing Near Southside factoids.
The mess next door, he expected. For months, a crew had been working to erect the new building for Tarrant County Infectious Disease Associates (TCIDA). Lynch was inured to being greeted by mounds of dirt and gravel and the rumble of heavy-duty construction equipment.
What he didn’t expect floored him. Well, it might be more accurate (if cringe-worthy) to say, “fenced” him: An 8-foot-high fence on TCIDA’s property was blocking the mural, almost completely obscuring the whole work of art.
“I was shocked,” Lynch said. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. We’ve only ever gotten positive feedback on that mural, and it kind of acts as a welcome sign to the area.”
Lynch, who at that point assumed the fence was a mistake, talked to the general contractor, who referred him to the architect. The contractor and the architect reportedly shrugged and told the attorney they were just doing their jobs. When Lynch contacted TCIDA’s office, he said the office manager was pretty matter of fact about the ordeal.
“She told me that the doctors had spoken amongst themselves and decided the fence would stay,” Lynch said. “I explained that the mural was part of our marketing strategy and a local artist had done it for us. Her response was that I should have known someone would buy the lot next to me and build something that would block the mural. She made it clear that they would not budge.”
You could forgive Lynch for feeling a little blindsided. The Weekly discovered that the fence was not a part of the rendering that TCIDA submitted to both the Near Southside Design Review Committee and the city’s Urban Design Commission. Also, by ordinance, fences on such a property can be only as high as 6 feet.
Too bad these pesky laws and approving bodies are toothless.
Laura Voltmann, a spokesperson for the Urban Design Commission, said the city can’t make the docs remove the offending fence. Lynch’s only course of action, she said, would be to file a complaint to the commission. Even then, TCIDA would receive only a citation, and even then, that citation would vanish if those fence-wielding philistines file for a permit that would allow them to have an 8-foot fence. If this sounds like handing a speeding ticket back to a cop after he pulls you over and you promising you’ll drive even faster now, that’s about right.
TCIDA did not return multiple phone calls for this story. Lynch hasn’t decided whether or not he’s going to file a complaint to the Urban Design Commission. You might say he’s on the fe … never mind.