For those just joining our story, the Pink Wall is pocket of multi-family condominiums bordering the mansions and McMansions of Preston Hollow located at the northeast corner of Northwest Highway and Preston Road. Within the area is Planned Development District 15 (PD-15) that includes the buildings above and fronts Northwest Highway between the Preston Tower and Athena high-rises.
Because PDs operate differently than straight city zoning, a task force has been formed by Dallas City Council member Jennifer Gates and includes Plan Commissioner Margot Murphy with representatives from each of the PD-15 buildings as well as buildings in the neighborhood outside the PD. The group is addressing the development issues facing the area since March’s Preston Place fire and a developer’s interest in the Diplomat property. PD-15 began in 1947 and, as you can imagine, needs some updating to reflect the realities of this century. You can get up to speed here, here, here, here, here.
Last night’s meeting built on the prior meetings by helping representatives crystallize what they see for the neighborhood in the future. Things to improve the livability of the area for everyone. Sidewalks, setbacks, landscaping, green space, flood control, traffic, and density. Essentially, what makes the neighborhood good today that can be brought forward to make it better tomorrow. I offered up “seclusion” as a descriptor worth retaining because the Pink Wall is a pocket neighborhood that should keep that feel as much as possible.
Answers were brought forward from City staff from questions asked in the prior meeting that sought clarification on nagging procedural and legal descriptions. Some answers only made these questions slightly less muddy or satisfying than before. I’ll report on them once they’re fully-baked (no sense correcting myself as the answers change). One thing the neighborhood should be happy about is that regardless of what happens … whether using the existing surplus of units or adding more, it will have to flow through the rezoning process, giving everyone their say.
There were many small points made, discussed, added upon, and such that I will not belabor here. For those who live in the area, meeting minutes will be distributed in the coming days that offer that detail. If you are outside the area, you likely don’t care.
But if you do live outside the area, I encourage you to continue to follow the progress of this process to learn. There are many pocket neighborhoods that developers have their eyes on. If you want a say in how those neighborhoods evolve, you should witness how others are working through the issue.
Sure, you’re unlikely to be within a PD that offers some added shielding, but that doesn’t mean you have no influence with developers and the city. And ultimately, you have more influence if you have a plan before things get ugly. No smart kid sits on Santa’s lap without a list, right? For those neighborhoods facing a redevelopment future, you should understand your options and then follow what PD-15 is doing to understand what you want out of development BEFORE the shovels hit the dirt. I guarantee you’ll find it a fascinating exercise and a useful one.
Now that this group has a pretty good idea of its Santa’s list, it’s now time to map those wishes against the reality of what we need to give a developer in order to get them. I suspect some wishes may fall away if the price is too high. But that’s all part of prioritizing. You want a Barbie and an Easy-Bake Oven, but Santa says you can only have one. Pick.
The next goal is to understand how these desires translate into actual structures. How does shuffling the deck look? For that, visuals are key. With help, desires will harden once we see (all of us have limited imagination to envision the interplay of new structures within the existing neighborhood in our heads). We have the list of ingredients, now it’s time to bake a cake.
Remember: High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement. If you’re interested in hosting a Candysdirt.com Staff Meeting event, I’m your guy. In 2016 and 2017, the National Association of Real Estate Editors has recognized my writing with two Bronze (2016, 2017) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards. Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make? Shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.