Westhollow Society Considers PID

Could your neighborhood, on its own, make enough noise to get the city to pay attention?

A few months ago, I attended a break-out session during the Dallas Homeowners League boot camp where Councilman Philip Kingston outlined the best ways to get the city’s attention when it comes to the needs of individual neighborhoods.

One of the biggest, he said that day, was to join forces with surrounding neighborhoods to organize and become a louder, bigger entity. It’s something Donovan Lord says drove him and others to form the Westhollow Society a few years ago.

“I started Westhollow Society out of a need for a cohesive force to better the Northwest Dallas area,” he explained. “I wanted there to be one organization that pulled the clout of all existing neighborhoods within our defined boundaries to work together to improve the area South of LBJ, North of Walnut Hill, West of Midway, and East of Dennis Road (roughly).”

In other words, Westhollow encompasses Park Forest, Royal Hills, Sparkman Club, Timberbrook, Royal Oaks, Royal North, Underwood, Northaven Park, Glen Cove, Highland Meadows, Coral Hills, Webster Grove, Walnut Hills, Royal Haven, Chapel Forest, Chapel Downs, Walnut Meadows, Northway Hills, Midway Hills, and Meadow Park.

Lord started Westhollow Society in 2012 and established it as a nonprofit to help raise funds for various projects in the area. “Our first endeavor was to design, raise money for, and put to a vote, the design for the sign toppers in the Park Forest development, which is part of the Westhollow area,” Lord said. “We did that successfully, and began working on other projects for the future.”

That signage was an important part of the group’s first goals because it was hard to explain exactly where their neighborhoods were — people knew what Preston Hollow is, but saying, “I’m near Preston Hollow,” often gave people the wrong impression.

“If I said I lived in Preston Hollow, as many would and still do, they would be imagining huge Strait Lane mansions, not the mid-century ranches that our area is so popular for,” Lord said. “I usually just said I lived over by Royal and Marsh.”

“Our area needed an identity and that is one of the main goals of our organization, to ‘brand’ our area so that we can better control our future with more clout and better marketing,” he added. Because the demographics in the area are changing, Lord said the group found that the discount stores and old strip malls were no longer what most residents wanted.

“It was a way also to band together all of the neighborhoods within our defined boundaries to work together for common goals.”

The next step, the group says, is probably a Public Improvement District. The society is currently in the exploration phase of the process, but so far they think the PID, can help with several issues the area faces, including an uptick in crime, bad streets and a deteriorating aesthetic, which “can all be solved in one fell swoop with a Public Improvement District,” Lord said.

A PID would assess a tax on commercial, condominium and single-family properties within the boundaries of Westhollow. The funds generated from that tax would then be used to address beautification, safety and other needs within the common areas of the district – kind of like an HOA. Current PIDs include Vickery Meadow, Deep Ellum, Lake Highlands, Uptown, and Knox-Henderson.

Westhollow’s PID would probably run 13 cents per $100 of appraised value as determined by the Dallas County Appraisal District. So if your DCAD evaluation was $300,000, you’d see a $390 per year increase on your tax bill.

Now, if you’re living in one of those neighborhoods inside the proposed district, you may be sitting up a little straighter right about now, and thinking you don’t really want to pay extra taxes.

You wouldn’t be alone. “Yes, we are meeting resistance about the idea of a PID, primarily by a select few from the Park Forest Neighborhood that have made every effort to ensure its failure as well as all efforts of the Westhollow Society,” Lord said candidly.

“We also have a great number of supporters who want the PID and feel it will revitalize and beautify our area,” he added, saying the biggest problem has been in having a chance to explain what the PID will do for the area, and who will be running it.

“Our primary issue has been communicating what we are and are not doing with a PID, educating what a PID actually is and is not, explaining that the PID would not assess any of the senior citizens or those with a disability and that the Westhollow Society would NOT be running the PID, it would be run by a newly created non-profit that would be headed primarily by volunteers from the area,” he explained.

“I personally would not have the time to nor would I be running the PID as I would continue to run the Westhollow Society as well as my Interior Design and Home Design businesses that I’ve had for over 12 years,” he added.

Mostly, Lord hopes his neighbors far and wide will give the group a chance to explain their goals for the area, goals, he thinks, will match up with what a lot of them have been wanting. The Westhollow Society, he says, “has always been about (the fact) that we together have far more clout and strength than as individual organizations.”

“Westhollow Society hopes to bring together all of the HOAs and neighborhood associations on board to fulfill our mission – which includes far more than the exploration of a PID,” he added.

Westhollow will be holding a PID workshop on January 23, 2016, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 11425 Marsh Lane, Dallas. Tickets are free for Westhollow Society members and $5 for non-members.

33 Comment

  • As with anything else the quality of the governance will determine whether
    this additional layer of bureaucracy adds significant value to those who
    bear the incremental taxation.

    It is rather clear that with its burdens of addressing the vast sinkholes in the
    police/fire retirement fund and the street situation, it will be a generation before
    the City of Dallas is able to provide an adequate level of city services.

  • I wish the author had done some fact checking before publishing this article.
    Most notably, far more than a “select few in Park Forest” do not support Mr. Lord’s effort with the Westhollow Society (WHS) and the PID.
    What kind of non-profit is the Westhollow Society? It is not found in a search of Texas 501c(3) organizations.
    How many members does the WHS have? In October 2015, they had five.
    Other than inviting area neighborhood associations to attend the sporadic meetings of WHS, what has Mr. Lord done to work with area neighborhoods?
    Were area neighborhoods consulted before being included in the WHS? I can answer this one, no.
    Mr. Lord includes street repair as part of the proposed PID, by all accounts, including other PIDs and Councilwoman Gates, street repair does not fall under the scope of a PID. Why does Mr. Lord insist on “promising” street repair if the PID passes?
    Where are the “many supporters” to which Mr. Lord refers? An informal survey showed approximately 80% of those surveyed did not want a PID.
    The above questions have been asked of Mr. Lord and the WHS before, never answered.

    • This was meant to be more of a “this popped up on my radar” piece. As Westhollow Society holds meetings and such, I will be there (including the one in January), and I will drill down further.

    • More lies from “Dolphin4K” (one of three of our detractors) about Westhollow. Every question asked of Westhollow has been answered (including the fact that we have never claimed to be a 501c(3) and this is addressed on our website under FAQ and has been there for months as well as in person. That does not change the fact that we are indeed a non-profit and organized as such under the laws of Texas as proven both by the video of the public meeting we had, which is posted on our website and has been since the day after the event, and by the FAQ section on our website, and by others answering the questions from the Westhollow Society. This is simply more tactics by a select FEW in one neighborhood trying to derail our efforts. Perhaps with an objective reporter, the truth will combat these people with ulterior motives as we move forward with our mission.

      • Thank you for answering one question Westhollow Society. Your website changes so often it is hard to keep up with the content, hadn’t seen that info there before.
        You have WAY more than three detractors, probably more detractors than you have actual members.
        Please show me where the above questions have been answered in writing and the date that the answer was published.
        I have no ulterior motive. Unless, of course, you think disagreeing with the mission of the Westhollow Society qualifies as an “ulterior motive”.

      • Mr. Lord claims there are only 3 detractors. I can tell you there are a lot more than 3. There has been so much discord over what the Westhollow Society has done, that the moderators of a website used by members of local neighborhoods have forbidden any new posts that reference the words “Westhollow” or “PID”. Three detractors could not have caused that response from the moderators of 13 neighborhoods.

        When Mr. Lord saw the majority of people were not for his PID proposal, he went to his other website, Westhollow Today, and created a fictitious article where it appeared he was being interviewed. Close examination of that article (http://westhollow.net/2015/12/02/westhollow-society-undaunted/) shows how clumsily he tries to go back and forth between being the interviewer and interviewee.

        I have personally heard from City Council for District 13, Jennifer Staubach Gates, who said she advised Mr. Lord that his proposal for a PID was not what it was intended to be used for. Neither she nor her office support the Westhollow PID efforts. One would think if it was such a good proposal, her office would be all for it. Then again, look at the other articles on Westhollow Today, and you will see that Mr. Lord does not post many nice things about her. See a trend?

        And lets get back to the creation of Westhollow. Mr. Lord, who is a real estate agent, had a post on Edict Realty’s website blog about why he came up with the idea. That post has now been deleted. Why? Was it because it fully explained his true motives? Since nothing is ever fully erased from the internet, I’m sure it can be found.

        Mr. Lord is getting pushback on his PID proposal because people simply do not want to pay more taxes. Bond packages are used to repair roads and he knows it, his own alley is scheduled to be repaired this coming spring. A PID would never be able to pay for the types of street repairs they talk about, even if it were in existence for many years. A simple search of the City of Dallas Public Works website (http://gis.dallascityhall.com/bond/council.htm?district=13) shows a list of projects and you can find their costs. Some are easily over $1M.

        What this all boils down to is Mr. Lord’s ego, and the bruising it has taken over this PID issue. He plays the victim saying he has been personally attacked, then goes and posts a fictitious article on the news website he created.

      • Mr. Lord claims there are only 3 detractors. I can tell you there are a lot more than 3. There has been so much discord over what the Westhollow Society has done, that the moderators of a website used by members of local neighborhoods have forbidden any new posts that reference the words “Westhollow” or “PID”. Three detractors could not have caused that response from the moderators of 13 neighborhoods.

        When Mr. Lord saw the majority of people were not for his PID proposal, he went to his other website, Westhollow Today, and created a fictitious article where it appeared he was being interviewed. Close examination of that article (http://westhollow.net/2015/12/02/westhollow-society-undaunted/) shows how clumsily he tries to go back and forth between being the interviewer and interviewee.

        I have personally heard from City Council for District 13, Jennifer Staubach Gates, who said she advised Mr. Lord that his proposal for a PID was not what it was intended to be used for. Neither she nor her office support the Westhollow PID efforts. One would think if it was such a good proposal, her office would be all for it. Then again, look at the other articles on Westhollow Today, and you will see that Mr. Lord does not post many nice things about her. See a trend?

        And lets get back to the creation of Westhollow. Mr. Lord, who is a real estate agent, had a post on that websites blog about why he came up with the idea. That post has now been deleted. Why? Was it because it fully explained his true motives? Since nothing is ever fully erased from the internet, I’m sure it can be found.

        Mr. Lord is getting pushback on his PID proposal because people simply do not want to pay more taxes. Bond packages are used to repair roads and he knows it, his own alley is scheduled to be repaired this coming spring. A PID would never be able to pay for the types of street repairs they talk about, even if it were in existence for many years. A simple search of the City of Dallas Public Works website (http://gis.dallascityhall.com/bond/council.htm?district=13) shows a list of projects and you can find their costs. Some are easily over $1M.

    • A most bogus survey left open for only a few hours initiated by someone opposing the information of a PID being circulated. Let’s tell the truth.

      • Yes, lets tell the truth. The poll was open for a day. There were 112 votes. 81% were against it (91 votes). 19% were for it (21 votes). There were 45 comments to the poll until it was closed.

        What is bogus is that we only hear from 2 or 3 individuals supporting Westhollow. Donovan Lord, who started unsolicited “rebranding”, his husband Michael Bettinger, and Chan Bright.

    • A most bogus survey left open for only a few hours initiated by someone opposing the information of a PID being circulated. Let’s tell the truth.

  • I think a PID would prove it’s worth the 5-7 year PID tax increase. Not sure how many more Dollar stores, check cashing stores or pawn shops we can handle! Those types of business seem to be the only ones flourishing in an area that is in desperate need of new development. There is opposition to the PID, many of those opposing are perfectly ok with paying $240 a year for an Enhanced Neighborhood Patrol, but are unwilling to pay the same on average, give or take, to pay into a PID that would provide more hours of Enhanced Patrol and offer many more services or increase to services for the same money.

    • I have no intention of paying for either……if Mr. Lord, or others wish a “higher end” neighborhood, complete with HOAs, perhaps they should not have purchased here……and paying extra for police protection? We already employ the entire department, and now some think the answer is to hire them for second jobs….consider that these off duty officers will be using police equipment, and vehicles – items we already pay for and maintain…..and that meager $24 a month…..that will be $100 in two years….this smacks of a protection racket…..so put me down as detractor number 4……my “neighbors” will never be assessing me taxes for projects THEY deem important……and nothing organized down here on Flair is going to control dollar stores on Forest.

      • A PID is not a HOA. Is the rehabilitation of a neighborhood with property values on the rise not worthy of being considered?

        • Really Chan? The article clearly says, “The funds generated from that tax would then be used to address beautification, safety and other needs within the common areas of the district – kind of like an HOA.” So are you and the Infamous Westhallow 5 who support the PID disagreeing with the article?

          AND do not mistake the relative quietness of your neighbors in Park Forest as compliance to the idea of “Westhallow” being shoved down our throats. Just because we don’t argue on the Next Door site doesn’t mean we won’t fight the “Westhallow 5” when we need to show our vote against this foolish notion.

    • Can someone explain how the existence of a PID will change the stores on Forest Lane?

  • Westhollow has been stirring up trouble and generally alienating their neighbors for a long time. When Donovan tries to get attention for his proposed PID he conveniently forgets to mention that his company Edict Realty created the Westhollow name. He also doesn’t mention that their Westhollow Society has been attempting to use this PID to pay for a “re-branding campaign” and “marketing” to re-brand all of northwest Dallas to the name that his company is pushing.

    On top of that, Westhollow members have questioned the management of the Park Forest ENP on NextDoor and needlessly antagonized neighbors by scheduling their meetings at the exact same time as Park Forest neighborhood meetings. I have no idea what the goal of that is other than to annoy everyone.

    On NextDoor Westhollow continually made incorrect claims like PIDs can repave roads (not a single PID in Dallas has done this), regularly disputed documented facts about city costs/fees that come with a PID, and continue to insinuate that a PID can prevent businesses that they personally don’t like (the talk of Dollar stores etc.).

    Their members caused so much chaos on NextDoor that the moderator “Leads” had to ban them from discussing the PID on NextDoor at all.

    • I don’t know that I am for or against a PID. But I know that I won’t let people make up my mind for me. Suppressing information and distributing false information about WestHollow because you don’t want people to have a voice is the real issue. Why is distributing information about what a PID is and what it can do such a terrible thing? You have a right to vote no, but you don’t have a right to choose how anyone else votes. If the people want it, it will pass. If they do not, it will not.

      And please note that less than 112 poll voters (questionable number) out of 2000-3000 homeowners does not make a majority. Only the critics that seem to have a personal agenda to smear WestHollow are the ones hijacking threads and causing chaos.

      • Claiming that the WH/PID supporters have not hijacked threads or caused chaos is laughable. Once again I will state that disagreeing with WH and/or asking questions does not equal a smear campaign. However, writing a defamatory article about your detractors could.

      • Dissention is not causing chaos. And since you could only vote once in the poll by your username, the # 112 is not questionable.

        • I wasn’t aware a vote was taking place, so there for I did not get a chance to “vote”. Maybe if you had given notice of a poll to be performed, more could have “voted”. Only keeping it open for a few hours hardly seems diplomatic.

  • Donovan Lord is an unscrupulous local realtor. His attempt to rename an area of Dallas without support of homeowners or businesses is a highly heated topic which has been banned on NextDoor NorthWest Dallas area website. His idea of a PID or additional tax on homeowners has blown up in his face as no one aside from his 5 member tribe is interested on an imposed tax. All bad ideas and bad karma.

  • You are all doing such a wonderful job of proving my point. Please continue. Keep calm and troll on.

    • By Chan ce, the world is full of idiots. The lord put them here for all to enjoy and Bet upon who would keep the senseless drama going.

  • Considering that PID information is only being explored at the moment, how is it that WestHollow is only wanting to use the PID for rebranding and street repair? Everything to this point has been discussion based. No real petition of services needed or wanted has been drawn up nor presented, so where are you getting the erroneous information about a PID and what it will be used for?

    There are steps and proposals and applications that all must be filled out before a PID can go up for review with the city. You are pulling a cart full of rotten tomatoes before the horse to serve your own agenda.

    The truth will always come out in the wash…WestHollow isn’t the one hiding in the shadows under pseudo names on the Internet. “Dallascite” and “NoPIDforWND”.

    BTW – how’s that “Northwest Dallas Committee” coming along? Any new members or just the same tired 4 that can’t stand the idea of a community doing something without their permission?

  • I’m not going to dwell too much on this, but I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone (or explain to our newcomers) that Candy’s Dirt has a strict no sock puppet rule. You can only comment under one name per IP address. Comments from any additional names coming from the same IP address will not be approved.

    It’s all in the name of fair play and civility. Thanks everyone!

  • My mother once told me to be cautious of anyone who constantly accuses others of telling lies because they, themselves, are the usually the ones who lie the most. Donovan Lord, posting under the name “Westhollow Society”, starts every response of every critical review of his work by accusing the reviewer of telling lies. His responses are more telling as the reviews, themselves.