Last night I broke the story on D Magazine of former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller’s apparent last-minute run for District 13’s council seat against incumbent Jennifer Gates. To review, I received an email inviting Athena condo residents to stop by HOA president Georgia Sue Black’s home to sign Miller’s petition. Candidates need 25 signatures to register as a candidate.
We checked at 3:30 p.m., and Miller had indeed filed the preliminary paperwork to be a candidate.
One reason (and perhaps the only) Miller seems to be running is her staunch opposition to any redevelopment in the area. Certainly, she’s been against every zoning case I’ve been aware of – outside area mansion add-ons – Highland House, sky bridge, Laurel apartments, St. Michael’s and all Angels, Pink Wall’s PD-15, etc..
The photo above was snapped in front of the 21-story Athena condos on Northwest Highway. Originally, these signs were near the St. Michael’s Frederick Square project. Coincidentally, Miller’s Campaign Treasurer is Doug Deason, the son of Darwin Deason who owns an 18,000 square foot condo on Douglas Avenue in back of the church’s proposed development.
Behind the Pink Wall, the irony of high-rise residents opposing any others is missed by a mile by residents. It smacks of a 2017 case where Toll Brothers sought approval for a high-rise in a high-rise-zoned area of Oak Lawn. In that case, residents of The Plaza I & II high rises were bitterly opposed and equally oblivious to their own hypocrisy.
Now that Miller has filed, one imagines she can slap “Vote Laura Miller” on the “No More Towers” signs pockmarking the neighborhood.
But is stagnation a viable political position? It certainly doesn’t appear to be in the Pink Wall’s case. The last building built was in the 1970s and it was the first to burn down. The remainder of the area’s building heyday was in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
What’s curious about that is single-family homes built during the 1950s and 1960s in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow are the stuff of bulldozers. These more modest homes hit the market as tear-downs, not often for serious living in. What were 3,500 square feet (still pretty big) family homes get McMansioned into 8,000 or more square feet of lot-hogging monstrosities.
The example above is just such a new build that replaced a perfectly acceptable home. Its exterior calls out to 1990s Plano residents who came into some money.
So why is this McMansioning OK while multi-family redevelopment isn’t? Why is flooding a hot topic for the Pink Wall when no one cares if single-family homes spill over more and more formerly water-permeable lawns?
But I suspect this is just what Miller’s campaign will run. Silent on single-family McMansioning while railing against multi-family.
Since my story broke, several insiders have wondered about her friendship and possible allegiance to Scott Griggs’ campaign and its collection of current and former city council members. Would Miller be a jewel in that crown? In my observations, Miller’s personality is more “crown” than “jewel”.
It would be an interesting alliance. Griggs is an urbanist and his “team” are similarly bent in supporting density and affordable housing. How would that play against Miller’s anti-development stance? Would Miller’s presence shield Preston Hollow while spreading density elsewhere? Would they agree to disagree on development? Time would tell pretty quickly.
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 email@example.com. Be sure to look for me on Facebook and Twitter. You won’t find me, but you’re welcome to look.