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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to look for me on Facebook and Twitter. You won’t find me, but you’re welcome to look.