Armed with scant facts and heavy hyperbole, hired hand Brett Shipp held a “press conference” next to Preston Tower Wednesday morning to bemoan the PD-15 zoning case that will finally land in the hands of the Dallas City Council (for better or worse) on September 11.
Around 50 to 60 people attended. As Robert Wilonsky dubbed them, “the party of no,” consisted of the same handful of people including Bill Kritzer, Carla Percival-Young, and Steve Dawson — all of whom you will see featured in any other press coverage. But not all were there to protest development. I stood with a dozen who supported the city’s recommendations.
Those against the restructuring of PD-15, which includes much of the neighborhoods behind the Pink Wall at Preston Road and Northwest Highway, also continued their upwards march on how opposed the area is to the city’s plan. We’ve seen 60 percent, then 70, now we’re up to 80 percent opposition. The funny thing is, their numbers aren’t swelling. With that much opposition, “the party of no” this morning would have swelled to hundreds, but it hasn’t.
And of course, this press conference was choreographed …
The location of the press conference played into a narrative. It was on the heavily treed Pickwick Lane instead of the developable, virtually treeless lots within PD-15 where potholed and worn concrete reigns. It’s hard to maintain a talk track of tree preservation when there are no trees. It was also away from the obsolete buildings and the burnt-out Preston Place concrete parking deck.
The time of the event was equally telling. Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. shows that the audience was the media and the retirees who live around the Pink Wall. While some had sought support from outside the area, the timing precluded anyone of working age from attending.
At one point they dragged out a two-color Lego model of what they want and what the developers want. The model showed their continued desire for four-story construction – a construction type no longer built in urban multi-family neighborhoods because it’s not cost-effective. It’s a product of a bygone era relegated to suburban and rural developments.
Of course, they decried the city ignoring them and being shut-out, but they’ve protested every suggestion, every attempt to bring reality into the discussion, to no avail. They’ve had such an outsized presence that nothing has been done for over two years, finally forcing the city to take action. The city isn’t ignoring them, they’ve just realized what they want is far removed from reality.
They want no change except freebies. They want Tulane Blvd. opened. They want privately-owned roads fixed. They want flooding fixed. In a city without a pot to pee in, these things can only be paid for by the developers. But if you don’t offer the developer room to move economically, none of it can happen – again, back to the “party of no.”
While invitations were sent to pretty much anyone with a media platform, I spotted just Channel 8, Brett Shipp’s former employer, and Telemundo.
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.