Lincoln Katy Trail Won’t Take No For An Answer, Returns to CPC Dec. 13

On Dec. 13, Lincoln Katy Trail will return to City Plan Commission to have its case reconsidered. “How’d that happen?” you ask? According to insiders, any commissioner who essentially wants to change their vote from the majority to the minority can ask for a case to be reheard.

I’m told that since November’s twin Oak Lawn Committee and CPC losses, there’s been no additional community outreach, no change in plans, and certainly no return to the Oak Lawn Committee – just a do-over because at least one Commissioner wants to switch sides.

Do I believe in a guilt-fueled epiphany? No. I believe in City Hall lobbying by Lincoln Property Company. Lincoln and their representative, former Dallas City Council member Angela Hunt, didn’t stop knocking on doors after November’s CPC defeat – and it seems one commissioner was swayed.

If this sounds like a pretty unusual thing, you’re right. Seasoned CPC members scrambled to the rule books yesterday to review the procedure for a reconsideration. Which makes it extra-special odd that the commissioner rumored to have flipped is pretty new to the game – and so unlikely to have proactively sought out such a boat-rocking tactic for a project outside their district, and even less likely to have thought of it on their own. One imagines a conversation involving “I can do that?”

What good is one vote when Lincoln Katy Trail lost by two?  First, one flip ties the game, two reverses the loss and nets Lincoln CPC support for their run at Dallas City Council, which I’m told is penciled in for Jan. 9.

Gaming this out, it looks like this:

If CPC continues to not support Lincoln Katy Trail, Lincoln can go to the full council for approval, but passage would require a super majority (three quarters in support). If Lincoln gains CPC support, a simple majority is all that’s required from Dallas City Council.

I think a super majority will be really tough after City Plan Commissioner Paul Ridley’s motion to kill the District 14 project last month. Ridley is the CPC appointee of District 14 Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston, and I’m going to assume Ridley’s strong language was telegraphing Kingston’s feelings on this case. So getting a super majority with the local council member against it has to be super unlikely.

That means that Lincoln needs to get CPC to override the Oak Lawn Committee and support the project, so it only needs a simple majority when it appears before the Dallas City Council to have any hope of achieving an end-run around Kingston.

Let’s recap the recent voting history on this project:

  • Oak Lawn Committee: No (big), No (big), Yes (by one vote), No (to new plan by a goodly margin)
  • Neighborhood Support: “Friends” of the Katy Trail supported both iterations, Perot properties was against and changed to neutral. Other residential neighbors (not selling or developer-owned) have consistently been against the project.
  • Plan Commission: Delay, Delay, Delay, “No” by two votes … Dec. 13?

I’ve frequently called out this project as being arrogant beyond measure. This latest turn only cements that criticism. Put in human terms, Lincoln is the stalker-y guy who won’t bathe or take “no” for an answer. WE’RE GOING TO THAT DAMN PROM – END OF STORY.

If only they’d put more talent behind this project. Isn’t there some point where this relentless force-feeding works against Lincoln?  Surely, if a Commissioner can change their “no” to a “yes,” then a former “yes” can change to “no.”


Remember:  High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the National Association of Real Estate Editors recognized my writing with three Bronze (2016, 2017, 2018) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards.  Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make?  Shoot me an email sharewithjon@candysdirt.com. Be sure to look for me on Facebook and Twitter. You won’t find me, but you’re welcome to look.

8 Comment

  • A real test for the relevance of the OLC. If this works for Lincoln, it will pave a scarey new path for getting projects approved and gut any neighborhood plan. If it’s such a great project, the CEO of Lincoln or hateful Hunt should build it in Highland Park where they can enjoy it everyday! It needs to be defeated on principle at this point! Otherwise we may as well be Houston with no zoning or PD planning at all!

  • Angela Hunt’s latest scheme, if allowed to proceed, would expose the City Plan Commission to a fresh wave of “soft corruption,” and bring back the worst of a money-driven “old Dallas” that operates behind the scenes, exploiting its residents for profit.

    From this point forward, developers who obtain an unfavorable decision at CPC would get a second, quasi-secret “second bite at the apple.” The vote tally would give the applicant a “shopping list” of opposing Commissioners to be intensely courted behind the scene over the following week. Commissioners and their sponsoring council members could be wooed through targeted bundles of political contributions and other items of political value (all perfectly legal).

    This would all happen out of the public eye, as this loophole would allow the second revote to occur without any notice to surrounding property owners, who would be under the impression the deal is either dead or proceeding to City Council where it would require a super majority vote.

    Pretty despicable stuff.

  • If you want to talk corruption lets start with the OLC board. The real truth behind the OLC board decision is the previous chair, and still a member who is spearheading the resistance, lives next door to the proposed project outside the Oak Lawn district.. Anyone who doesn’t recognize this as a conflict of interest should not discuss the corruption in Dallas. Lincoln is lobbying from the outside but make no mistake there is plenty of lobbying from this OLC member and his homeowner Vine community. The “relevance” of the OLC and their bias should be made know to public view. Board members of any community are obligated to represent the community, not their own interest.

    Likening this project to Houston and suggesting that this one property is equivalent to no zone/PD planning is near sighted at best and blatantly unintelligent at worst. The zoning isn’t putting a strip club next to a middle school; it’s a change from a 2 story building to a 6 story building. Let’s not allow the facts to be glossed over to promote some corruption agenda.

    • mm

      For the past year the OLC has been led by Hilda Rodriguez, the prior chair for many years was Brenda Marks. Neither has lived near the proposed site and in fact Marks has left Dallas and her membership in the group has ended.
      .
      Yes, there are voting members who live at the Vine condos across the street, but as in any neighborhood group, those effected by zoning changes are apt to be on the OLC. There are similarly OLC members living in the selling property.
      .
      OLC rules state that those benefiting from a change aren’t allowed to vote but neighbors can. Either side is free to lobby their opinion as they see fit. So no rules have been broken.
      .
      “…next door to the proposed project outside the Oak Lawn district” is nonsense. Aside from Turtle Creek Park, everything surrounding this project is within the OLC purview. And the only reason the park isn’t is because it’s a park and no one is supposed to live there.
      .
      For someone who calls themselves “Truth” you’re lacking quite a bit of it.

      • *OLC rules state that those benefiting from a change aren’t allowed to vote but neighbors can. Either side is free to lobby their opinion as they see fit. So no rules have been broken.*

        You left out the critical part of the OLC Bylaws:
        In addition, a member may not participate in discussion of a particular application on which the
        member has a conflict of interest. A member with a conflict of interest may present to the OLC.

        • mm

          Yes, but conflicts of interest are typically sellers (being enriched), not neighbors. Sellers are represented by their buyer’s representatives who present directly to the OLC. Why would a seller have anything to add to the discussion that’s not been covered by their own representative?
          .
          Sellers wanting to personally influence members can certainly have offline conversations.

  • I’m still trying to wrap my head around Angela Hunt’s conduct in this case.

    According to a document contained in this article, Ms. Hunt stated (with respect to this case): “at the end of the day, whether a zoning change is approved is largely if not entirely dependent on neighborhood self-determination. That was true when I was on the council and it’s true now. It doesn’t matter how much I might advocate for a project – if it can’t get community support, it’s not going to happen. And that’s how it should be.”
    Source: https://www.dmagazine.com/frontburner/2017/10/the-complicated-professional-life-of-angela-hunt/

    Official ballots submitted in connection with this case show 708 opposed and none in support (excluding ballots submitted by the sellers who stand to gain millions from the upzoning.

    Those opposed include: The Dallas Homeowners League, Belmont Village Retirement Center, Claridge HOA, Coleridge HOA, Howell Park HOA, La Tour HOA, Mayfair HOA, Renaissance HOA, Vine HOA, and Woodshire Court HOA. In addition, the Oak Lawn Committee has declined to support this proposal on three separate occasions and a prior version one additional time.

    How does Ms. Hunt square that circle?