The attempt to get a Plan Commission re-vote on the Lincoln Katy Trail project has spectacularly failed. As reported on Dec. 4, Christopher Lewis, Plan Commissioner appointed by District 8 Council Member Tennell Atkins, filed paperwork to get the project reconsidered after it initially failed CPC on Nov. 15.
Today’s CPC session brought up the motion to reconsider with District 10 appointee Tipton Housewright seconding the motion. Almost immediately, Commissioner Deborah Carpenter motioned for discussion to be halted and a vote to re-vote simply held. That motion didn’t pass, which I’m sure caused a few white knuckles (including mine).
When CPC Chair Gloria Tarpley opened the floor for commissioner comments, it became clear that the reason the immediate vote had failed was because there was some chastisement to come.
Commissioner Margot Murphy asked Lewis for the identity of the person who had convinced him to ask for a reconsideration. After all, as I pointed out, he’s new and from a district miles away. Asking for a re-vote was always odd. Lewis answered that Angela Hunt, working for Lincoln Property Company, had convinced him.
Commissioner Paul Ridley, whose district the proposed project would be built in, was fairly scathing in his comments. He said that reconsiderations are rare and generally held when startling new information is brought to light (something he didn’t see here). He noted that opening this door for re-votes of sore-loser projects is one that shouldn’t be opened. Decisions should stand outside extraordinary circumstances – something not in evidence here.
Commissioner Mark Rieves was a wily one. He pulled out the new information packet supplied by Lincoln Property Company and backtracked. The rationale was that Lincoln thought misinformation from the opposition unknowingly influenced the CPC decision. So Rieves created a dateline and noted that no supposed misinformation was noted since August, months before the new two-building configuration and four months before the CPC vote. He said that certainly, in the ensuing misinformation-free four months, CPC was not swayed by any information from the original configuration.
Even CPC Chair Tarpley noted that while she voted in favor of the project, she, too, would not support a re-vote. She noted the camel’s nose under the tent created by allowing every disgruntled developer a second bite of the apple.
In the end, Lewis was alone in the wind, solely voting for a re-vote. Even Commissioner Housewright, who seconded his motion, heard the rationale and ultimately saw the wind blowing the other way.
The question remains, what’s next? As I reported earlier, I’d heard Lincoln was going to try and duke it out at Dallas City Council in January. But with the recent string of losses and now a three quarters super-majority vote required for passage at city council, will Lincoln finally pack up its tent? Don’t bet on it.
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