Lincoln Katy Trail Re-Vote May Open Door To Intensified Lobbying For Bad Projects

Last week, CandysDirt.com reported the unusual move by one Plan Commissioner to call for a re-vote on the contentious Lincoln Katy Trail project. We can now report the request was made by Christopher Lewis, newly appointed by District 8 Council Member Tennell Atkins.  I noted at the time it was an unusual move for someone so new to the position.  It also has the potential to set a very dangerous precedent for the City of Dallas.

The last (easily discovered) time reconsideration was used was back in 2013 when some wanted to frack in the Trinity River floodplain. The CPC said “no” but then CPC chair and fracking supporter Joe Alcantar asked for a reconsideration. Seems a game was afoot to game the system because of who was missing from the first vote and who would be missing from the second. You may recall the city manager and city attorney were fired during the scandal.

The reason for the re-vote was the same as Lincoln Katy Trail. A CPC loss translates into a 3/4 majority at City Council for passage.

Interestingly enough for history buffs, three council members wrote to Alcantar urging his to reconsider the re-vote. Scott Griggs, Sandy Greyson and … Angela Hunt, who now sits with Lincoln on the Lincoln Katy Trail case.

The reasons given were simple – the first vote had been held “after a lengthy, thorough, and thoughtful discussion and subsequent vote” and that “City Plan Commission has spent a great deal of time deliberating on this issue” and finally, “If the public is not allowed the opportunity to speak because the item was not noticed as a public hearing, then this is reason enough to defer this matter.”

I’m going to say that after being presented to CPC on multiple occasions, dissent and support having been heard, and a vote taken, Lincoln and Hunt should not be granted a reconsideration either.

Because here’s the dangerous thing. If reconsideration starts being used as a tactic to uncover dissent for a zoning case, then developers will use it as another tool to identify commissioners to target for lobbying efforts. They will use the first vote as a trial balloon.

The result will be projects that should die getting a second life and the city will be poorer for it.

Voting results from November 15 CPC vote

Thursday’s CPC meeting will require someone on the “winning” side to make a motion to reconsider based on Lewis’ application (Lewis himself most likely). That motion should be answered with deafening silence.

If a motion is made, then a re-vote may happen right then and there that would reward lobbying and punish the citizens of Dallas.

If you want to read the CPC rules on the matter, read Section 4, sub-section © Reconsideration.


 

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.

 

20 Comment

  • Just when you thought Dallas was growing up, this happens. And oh the irony.

    Dallas, same as it ever was.

  • Didn’t you move to another state? The Uptown Dallas neighborhood is not up to par because of PD-193. The Oak Lawn Committee needs to stop calling it their mission to protect my Uptown neighborhood. Go “protect” “Oak Lawn Proper” aka the “gayborhood” (term referred to by my friends in the LGBTQ community who affectionately refer to their enclave as such). The Oak Lawn Committee has done nothing to fix my Uptown sidewalks! Get out of the way!

    • mm

      The Oak Lawn Committee vets construction projects that are seeking a zoning variance. They are not the fixers of sidewalks or other infrastructure, that’s the job of the city council member.
      .
      The fact that Uptown commands some of the highest rents for residential and commercial property would seem to disprove your assertion that Uptown “is not up to par”. It’s arguably one of the most sought-efter addresses in the city.

    • The first mission as noted in the Oak Lawn Committee’s mission statement [http://www.oaklawncommittee.org/mission.htm] is: “To achieve buildings more urban in form”. How the Oak Lawn Committee accomplished that in Uptown, I doubt it. I think the credit for that fact is due to the developers who made Uptown (i.e. West Village, Victory, State Allen, Knox) what it is today. Who needs the Oak Lawn Committee in Uptown anyway when Uptown Dallas, Inc. [http://www.uptowndallas.net/thats-my-uptown/uptown-dallas/] continues to be the economic engine that drives Dallas forward and Uptown Dallas, Inc. is the public improvement district (PID) company that manages and enhances the public realm.” If the Oak Lawn Committee actually partnered with developers in a collaborative way to improve privately funded projects (i.e. Lincoln Katy Trail) for the betterment of Dallas, then you would have your brand new sidewalk (I assume you traverse Carlisle St.).

    • Hi Jeff! So sorry I missed commenting on this when you posted it. Uptown Dallas exists because of PD 193. The transformation began months after the Ordinance was passed. Feel free to check your false history at the door.
      As to your sidewalks, you might want to direct your hostility to the property owners of these various nefarious sidewalks.

  • I recently attended a similar proceeding in another jurisdiction where commissioners were required to state to the public any conflicts that they might have (like a spouse involved in a community group) along with any exposure to any outside information concerning the matter at hand including even newspaper articles and e-mails from constituents. Direct lobbying by interested parties beyond information provided formally to the public body in writing or at a hearing was presumably prohibited. Accordingly, I believe at a minimum that it would be appropriate to require each commissioner upon the making of a motion to reconsider to report any contact whatsoever with Lincoln or any other interested party since the time of the 7-5 vote with details of the conversations or communications being provided. I then believe that it would be appropriate for any interested party ( if only Mr. Anderson could be a modern-day tribune of the plebs) including the OLC or neighbors in opposition to bring in the gross past misrepresentations that Lincoln has made to the OLC concerning FAR and neighborhood opposition for example and directly question each of the commissioners as to any representations that may have been made to them in the interim period or ever along these or related lines. Only then should the motion be considered. My guess is that a lot of the impetus for the re-hearing has to do with the need to expand the city revenue base in light of the increasingly oppressive tax burden on Dallas property owners. Maybe if we required some increased level of accountability from our supposed representatives we would not be left in part holding the bag for fiascoes like the police & fire pension fund meltdown and the Dallas County Schools scandal with the resulting need to consider busting obvious existing zoning limits.

    • mm

      Can you hear me applauding in North Dallas! I moved to Dallas in 1980 and I believe 5 City Council members have been indicted and either threatened with or seen jail time.

    • That sounds like a recipe to obfuscate the real question at hand which is ‘does the Lincoln Katy Trail project have merit’, yes or no, and vote. Yes, it does.

      • What gives you the right to say that there is no zoning? The project is a complete and obvious abortion in the context of the existing neighborhood which appears to feature a “maximum MF-2” development right across the street from it. If the city decides to bust the existing zoning because something has to give revenue-wise or because of the recognition of the seller(s)’ right to terminate under the state condominium statute, we have a right to know. Keeping everything secret so that developer interests can upzone one area while downzoning an adjoining area so that they can clip property owners coming and going just doesn’t fly in the context of a city government that doesn’t even begin to function in the interest of taxpayers and has just featured two horrendous fiscal scandals, both of which resulted in increased taxes .

    • The same should also be said for members of The Oak Lawn Committee. Never has there been so little governance from elected government officials over this organization that holds so much influence over public and private matters in its hands. The mere balance of a vote could be swayed by unethical interested parties. For a $50 membership fee, the electoral balance can be tipped by “carpetbaggers”. Its members could be the target of purveyors of unethical influence peddlers. The same goes for pseudo-public-interest groups like “TUNA” The Uptown Neighborhood Association and its only member, a one Tony Page, who purports his organization to represent the interests of its constituency while neither disclosing his own interests in opposition to Lincoln’s Katy Trail project.

      • The Oak Lawn Committee doesn’t decide anything and it lost a massive amount of credibility when it flip/flopped on the Lincoln project anyway. If the city wants to follow its lead, that’s the city’s decision. You are like the conspiracy theorists who tried to blame the Great Recession on the ratings agencies. The saving grace of the OLC is that it is a functioning community organization based on free speech that can pick up the pieces and keep the development process functioning when the city is in disarray as a result of one of its recurring scandals. I seriously doubt that the FBI spends any time investigating the OLC. If only the same could be said for Caraway et al. And, I seriously suggest that you confine your carpetbagger references to the scum who advocated removing the Lee statue and got someone killed in the process. Personally, I don’t trust any company named after a syphilitic murderer like Lincoln.

  • This city needs an enema.

  • What is Tennell Atkins’ interest in this case? To what extent are council members allowed to influence the deliberations of their CPC appointees?

  • A row of nail salons and a 7-11 would be more attractive than the existing structures. Raze the fire trap.

    • No one is preventing you from tearing your place down, Mr. Sieber, and building something twice as large. No rezoning required.

      But why would you allow your property to deteriorate into a fire trap? Why did you purchase it in the first place?

  • If I am not mistaken, PD-193 (i.e. Oak Lawn) includes “Uptown” and others “areas” such as Turtle Creek. Neither Uptown or Turtle Creek are recognized by the city or its governance as neighborhoods in and of themselves. So the idea that the OLC should stay out of “my Uptown” neighborhood is uninformed. Of course the OLC has jurisdiction, because PD-193 is all technically Oak Lawn for that purpose. Am I correct Mr. Anderson?