Coming as no surprise, the final Preston Center Area Task Force plan passed Plan Commission Thursday. Even with all the political puffery and backslapping, approval took about 15 minutes. I say it comes as no surprise because there’s nothing surprising, insightful, or controversial about it. In fact, it could have been written two years ago before a single meeting was held or a single dollar spent.
A few self-congratulatory task force members got up to heap praise on the plan. Peter Kline and others said that for the first time in 40 years this group is actually in agreement. Bill Archer said, “I don’t think there’s anything controversial in the plan.”
Well, ya got that right.
The self-authored plan for the area near Northwest Highway and Preston Road essentially says that nothing should really change.
- Keep all zoning unchanged and Planned Development Districts’ allowances unchanged
- Provide no guidance or incentive for non-office development in Preston Center
- Crack the door on Pink Wall redevelopment to maybe four stories (if deed restrictions can be extinguished)
- The Preston Center West parking garage is an abomination and should be replaced and submerged and covered with a park
- Traffic is going to be what it’s going to be
- All the hard research dumped into the appendix
The cost for those pearls and the veneer of respectability? $300,000.
Next up the Dallas City Council will fawn over it before approving it (Plan Commission actually applauded!).
In the end, it was waste of time and money that does nothing to address the guiding principles of the task force, namely parking and traffic. Which I find ironic as task force member Betsy Del Monte specifically noted to the Plan Commission that the plan is a way to manage traffic.
Really? How exactly?
All new development within zoning (and there’s plenty of excess, already zoned capacity) will increase traffic. Office development will increase rush hour the most but it’s also the most lucrative for developers. Office space will also not create the vibrancy desired by residents. Residential and retail are less profitable for developers and yet there’s no plan or recommendation to incent their construction. Either way, all new development will increase traffic. There is nothing in the plan to mitigate those increases beyond finger-crossing between Dallas and TXDoT.
I remind you, this “plan” took two years and $300,000 … and yet the exact same core issues remain.
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