Barbara Dewberry: PD-15 Needs Less Density, More Green Space, But No Public Parks

By Barbara Dewberry
Guest Contributor
 
Last week in a CandysDirt.com column, Jon Anderson stated in reference to the Jennifer Gates called community meeting on August 7th that I said that, “the neighborhood doesn’t want green space.
 
In fact, I said “We don’t want a public park,” and many people heard this.  The four acres that are proposed to be developed is too small to dedicate land to a public park and also the City has said they will not maintain it.  Thus, to have a park that outsiders will discover and have picnics, kiddie birthdays, and bring dogs and not pick up, will be an invasion into our now quiet neighborhood.  It will be very expensive to maintain.
 
I have always advocated green space around the buildings like that of the Preston Tower and the Athena which allows permeable space, which will be helpful in stopping run-off flooding.  PD-15 is experiencing flooding already and this needs to be addressed before anything is built.  I, with our neighbors, have demanded a 100-foot setback for any buildings facing South toward NW Hwy.  This would allow for more green space, guest parking and save several vintage Live Oak trees.  Our small 4 acres to be developed is not large enough to dedicate 1/3 acre to a park.  Besides, there is a lovely park at Hillcrest and W. NW Hwy.  Also I have always championed green roofs on any buildings that are built in PD- 15. We are demanding for a right in and right out opening to be made in the Pink Wall so that construction vehicles will not be wandering around decimating streets we own and breaking tree limbs.
 
The proposed park is just another device that the developers use to get additional height and density which the neighborhood is against.
 

PD-15 Map

The PD-15 area and other nearby areas have wide, tree-lined streets and are one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Dallas.  The condos and garden homes are spacious, well maintained, and the purchase price is very reasonable. The location is outstanding.  The City of Dallas, joining with Provident and Spanos, wants to tear down affordable homes, but give incentives to the developers to include affordable housing apartments to allow them to build outrageously tall buildings — 310 feet. Does this make sense?
 
The possibility of four high rise buildings being squeezed into PD-15 with maybe 750 units if Diamond Head chooses to develop, could mean maybe 1,500 people and 1,500 cars, which will be chaotic! Too many people in too small a space! When development is completed can you imagine the traffic?  Consider trash trucks, deliveries-UPS, FedEx, Uber, Lyft, guests, service and repair vehicles — we will need helicopters to get out of our homes.
 
If CandysDirt.com readers have noticed, Jon has no compassion for the neighborhood.  He appears to support anything Margot Murphy, Jennifer Gates, and the developers ask.  The height and density that will ruin our neighborhood does not affect him now as he has moved from the Athena and will not have to bear the consequences of a very bad proposed plan. Jon’s Athena unit was on the west end facing north and one of only two units on the north that have sold recently. We now have five units facing north for sale and not moving.  Is the possibility of the effects of the proposed disastrous zoning causing this?
 
Thus, is the city creating even more affordable housing because this zoning battle appears to be keeping units from selling and is lowering prices?
 
 But Jon knew when to “to fold ‘em” and left us to endure maybe five years of construction and the chaos thereafter of too much height and density – too many people, too many cars and untenable traffic. All this brought about by the outrageous zoning that Jon embraced.
 
We have one last chance to be heard by the Dallas City Council on September 11, and hopefully, they will see through the developers’  “Follywood” presentation and help us plan for development that will complement the PD-15 area now and into the future.
 
Please call or email the Council Members and ask them to save our neighborhood and deny the City Plan Commission/developers’ plan. Then let the homeowners work with developers to create a reasonable and appropriate plan for PD-15.

Barbara Dewberry is a resident of the Athena, one of two high-rise buildings inside PD-15. To submit your opinion for consideration, email news@candysdirt.com.

12 Comment

  • Talk about lack of compassion, YOU Barbara, show no compassion for the 60+ Preston Place residents who lost everything and one sweet woman who died in the horrific fire on 3/3/17. Our lives were devastated and we can not move forward because of people like you. We have been held hostage through no fault of our own for over 2 1/2 Years!

    The Athena and Preston Tower have no sidewalks, green space for others and ugly open parking lots. Yet you are demanding so many things you do not provide the neighborhood. You are the 2 neighborhood giants who have acted like bullies pushing your own self serving agenda for over 2 years. Shame on you!

  • mm

    First, no one has ever said public park as though it would be maintained by the city of Dallas. The land the green space would sit on is not being deeded to the city. It’s stated that open space on private land would be maintained by its owners but for the enjoyment of the neighborhood (in other words, they’re not going to fence it in). Developers of high-priced apartments will maintain the area to keep their tenants happy and rents up.
    .
    Second, 310′ is not “outrageously tall” unless you think the building you live in is outrageously tall.
    .
    My unit sold quickly because it was fully renovated to a high standard. Unrenovated units sell slowly because the older demographic the Athena attracts don’t want to renovate. You didn’t buy an unrenovated unit either.
    .
    I didn’t abandon the neighborhood. You will recall when you were looking for a second unit for a relative I said I’d sell you mine if a unit on a higher floor became available – and that was what…two years ago? When ghastly and unrenovated unit 2011 was listed in November, I looked into it, but their price was (and still is, in my opinion) too high. My new home dropped their price in January and I spent months making it work. Sure my decision was partly location (Turtle Creek is more walkable than Pink Wall will ever be), but it’s mostly math. The only thing I gladly abandoned was being your neighbor – and I did that long ago.
    .
    If you read the very first things I wrote about PD-15, you’ll see my opinion hasn’t changed. I’ve always been in favor of height if it freed ground space. I’m the one who told you about green roofs. I’m the one who devised the traffic plan to open Tulane to Northwest Highway. I’m the one who talked about alternatives to control flooding.
    .
    You want reasonable development but you and your cronies have no idea what that means.

  • Of the 6 properties within PD-15, the newest one burned to the ground, because of no fire suppression system. The three remaining low rises all have big, expensive maintenance issues due to being almost 60 years old. Even Preston Tower, I’ve heard, learned recently its elevators have no replacement parts available, and the elevators have to be ripped out and replaced. They also have regular plumbing leaks. Diamond Head is having foundation and underground plumbing repairs done on ONE of its FIVE buildings, as we speak. Next up is replacing the chiller system. I had to move out for a month when a pipe sprung a leak in the slab under my bathtub. Four neighbors I know of also endured major interior damage due to plumbing leaks. This is antiquated construction technology. These are expensive hits on any property’s reserves, even more so on smaller buildings. It makes these condos more expensive (not more affordable) when you divide the ongoing costs among fewer owners. I love the neighborhood. Its the cost benefit trade off of living in a mid-century structure that I don’t love.

  • mm

    I have not folded. Still own a property in the area and my daughter still lives there. We welcome new development.

  • Barbara, I have found Jon’s analysis of the PD -15 situation to be based on facts, hard data and knowledge. You, however, have nothing to offer but exaggeration and the opinion of what appears to be a group of small minded, selfish residents. That Candysdirt would even publish your rantings ended up being a waste of my time reading it.

  • A lot of ugly , aggressive commentary attacking
    a neighbor for having differing views.
    The silver lining is that these ” Negative Nellies” will
    be leaving ( have left , thank goodness) the neighborhood soon enough. Don’t
    let the door hit you!

    • And for all you followers who are spreading the
      Council Member’s Biggest Lie, ” that it’s “JUST THE
      WICKED HIGHRISES” that are against the city plan,
      here’s a short list of low-rises in the neighborhood
      who have loudly declared opposition to the City
      Plan:
      Royal Arms, Gaslight, Walker-Averill, Averill de Vol,
      6040 Averill, Imperial House, Park Sovereign, Averill
      House, as well as hundreds of neighbors north of us
      in Preston Hollow in single family homes, Townhome
      owners north of us in Northwest Highway, and more.
      That “only the highrise narrative” is a BOLD-FACED LIE!

  • Gosh Stoneshare, your comments are the ones that sound ugly and aggressive. Look in the mirror.

  • Do you realize you’re living in a city? Green space is ridiculous. You’re also not a CITY planner. See keyword there? Your property also has no green space. To expect this of new development is ludicrous. Move to the country if you need to hear birds chirping.

  • Same song, 2nd verse, same BS as the first…should be 50th verse same BS as the first but that’s now how the saying goes. Development is inevitable.