Lake Highlands WHITEROCKELEMENTARY SITE PLAN After a round of norovirus bludgeoned our house, I am finally able to come back to my original story about White Rock Trail Elementary – or rather, the proposed site for it.

In my previous two stories, I talked to a representative of “We Have a Voice,”  Lake Highlands neighbors who are heading the opposition to the site, and to a representative from Richardson Independent Schools. You can read the first story here. The follow up is here.

Next, I reached out to Nathan Jacks, of “We Need a School,” the Lake Highlands neighbors that are for the proposed site, for his take on the situation.

I emailed Jacks questions, and he responded. In the interest of complete transparency, my questions and his responses verbatim are below.

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Lake Highlands school

Just a few things, after a day and a night of comments have rolled in, and after a few Lake Highlands friends and I talked.

Firstly, I’d like to congratulate most of you (save one, but we talked it out) for remaining civil. From what I understand, this issue is contentious and has even resulted in the ending of friendships.
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The Lake Highlands neighborhood that might be home to the proposed White Rock Trail Elementary is pretty adamant about its opposition, citing a deed restriction at the top of its list of reasons. (Photo courtesy Rahul Yodh)

The Lake Highlands neighborhood that might be home to the proposed White Rock Trail Elementary is pretty adamant about its opposition, citing a deed restriction at the top of its list of reasons. (Photo courtesy Rahul Yodh)

If you build a school, but most of the neighborhood is against it, will they come?

That was the question I was left pondering after conversations on both sides of a debate over whether the proposed site for White Rock Valley Elementary. On one side, you have Richardson ISD, who insists that the site – bordered by Walnut Hill, White Rock Trail and DART tracks is the most viable option. On the other, you have the parents and neighbors who insist the site is dangerous, expensive and potentially unallowable because of a public deed restriction in place since the 1970s.

The opposition has coalesced into a grassroots group – “We Have a Voice.” Rahul Yodh, its spokesman, says that the group realizes that overcrowding at White Rock Elementary means something must be done – but not at this site. (more…)

midcentury renovationmidcentury renovationI’ve known Rebecca Nolen since our high school days at Ursuline Academy of Dallas. Even back then, her design aesthetic was refined—she had the best-looking bedroom of anyone I knew. She also offered me Welsh rarebit as a snack when I came over to study one afternoon, far more sophisticated than the Little Debbie Star Crunch Cosmic Snacks I was used to eating after school.

The subsequent years only improved her taste, as evidenced by the discerning midcentury renovation of the Lake Highlands home she and her husband Richard bought in 2005.

“We had visited a number of houses we loved over the years—the Eames house in Los Angeles and a Neutra house in Palm Springs, especially—and those gave us a good idea of how we want to live,” said Richard. “The Eames house looks almost like a child’s toy from the outside with its red and blue panels, but it’s filled with treasures from Charles and Ray’s travels around the world. They really lived there; it wasn’t a sterile monument to design. That’s what we’re going for.”

When Rebecca and Richard purchased “the ranchette” in 2005, it was dated and drab, but with potential: corner lot on a quarter acre, 1,341 square feet, three bedrooms, and a big kitchen and backyard.

“Honestly, we only looked at about three houses, and this was the first one,” said Rebecca. “It had a lot of problems—it was pretty much a dump, with torn up carpeting, ratty wallpaper, broken fiberglass shower enclosures, and an HVAC system that was falling apart. But it was filled with light and the kitchen was enormous. Something about it felt right. And it didn’t have a popcorn ceiling, which still ranks among my worst nightmares.”

The work they’ve done over the years is nothing short of spectacular. They took a boring, blah house and added major midcentury personality, elegant style, and thoughtful design.

“We have neighbors who get what we’re doing and raise the bar themselves—there are some serious midcentury modern remodels that are giving us great ideas,” Rebecca said. “Our next-door neighbors even went midcentury modern last summer with an outdoor update. They bought oversized aluminum house numbers, replaced their brass lantern with a giant globe pendant, and used a quirky chartreuse paint color for their trim.”

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Photo from votemcgough.com

Photo from votemcgough.com

Update April 26: After talking to Adam McGough’s campaign manager and analyzing more utility bills, we have issued an apology to the Adam McGough for City Council campaign.  Apparently the family’s utility usage was NOT that out of the ordinary, for a family of three boys, despite the low electricity usage records we were sent by a source.

If you’ve been keeping up, you may be familiar with the residency issues surrounding city council District 10 candidate Adam McGough. If not, plenty of primer to catch up with is here.

And maybe you saw that Highland Park ISD concluded its investigation and decided not to press the matter further. So it’s over, right?

Well, thanks to a source, we have come in possession of something that casts some more questions on McGough’s story that his wife and children lived in the condo while he maintained their residence in Lake Highlands – electricity usage records.

Sarcastic Side-Eye Baby is dubious about this.

Sarcastic Side-Eye Baby is dubious about this.

The condo was a one bedroom, and allegedly Lacy McGough and their three children lived in it the entirety of two and a half school years, until they pulled their kids in favor of private school at this year’s winter break. I found a handy calculator here, and even with allowing for energy-efficient appliances, their kilowatt usage should’ve been around 1,636 kw each month.

What did the McGough’s use? Well, let’s put it this way – they either have the world’s most energy efficient, off-the-grid-solar-panel-using-cold-shower-having family, or um, they maybe didn’t live there the whole time.

There, I said it.

Here are the months of usage we have. Maybe they used more at some point. But for real, this is a dream electric bill for four people. For instance, their April 2014 bill was 658 kilowatts. October 2014’s bill was 480.  To put this in perspective, the average electric hot water heater pulls somewhere between 380 and 500 kilowatts per month, and your average fridge uses about 150 kw.

So yeah.

Wanna see the rest of the documents? Click below.

Adam McGough info 2 (1) Adam McGough info 1 (1)

Artist rendering of the Villas of Lake Highlands. Photo: David Weekley Homes

Artist rendering of Villas of Lake Highlands. All photos: David Weekley Homes

Houston-based David Weekley Homes is building their second community in East Dallas, with five houses ready for move-in this summer.

Villas of Lake Highlands will be a private gated community of detached, single-family houses near White Rock Lake at E. Northwest Highway and Plano Road. At build-out, the development will have 80 houses.

Prices start at $410,000 and the houses range in size from 2,308 to 2,904 square feet with five different floorplans. All will be built on 32-foot home sites.

Villas of Lake Highlands

 

HOA fees will be $1,450 per year, with a $300 capitalization fee at time of purchase. Community amenities will include include a dog park and swimming pool.

The area is zoned for Richardson ISD, with assigned schools Lake Highlands Elementary School, Lake Highlands Middle School, Lake Highlands Freshman Core, and Lake Highlands High School.

Here’s a quick look at the five houses available this summer.

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Photo from votemcgough.com

Photo from votemcgough.com

Did Dallas City Council candidate Adam McGough buy a condo in Highland Park just for the chance to send his kids to Highland Park ISD?

McGough, a former chief of staff for Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and current candidate for District 10 city council seat, says yes, but it’s not like that. Highland Park ISD officials, however, have announced they’re looking in to the whys and wheretofors of the whole situation, and just about every media outlet in Dallas is drilling down on the housing situation of the McGough family. (more…)

Photo: Dallas ReStore

All photos: Dallas ReStore

If you’re DIY aficionado or planning a home renovation project on a budget, then you’ve got to be jazzed about the Feb. 21 grand opening of the newest Habitat for Humanity ReStore Resale Outlet in DFW. The store will be located in Lake Highlands at the southeast corner of Skillman Street and Abrams Road in the space formerly occupied by Big Lots, which closed last year.

This location is the eleventh in the DFW area, all of which are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers selling new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances to the public at steep discounts (like 20 to 70 percent off retail prices). Each store is operated by local Habitat chapters, and proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity homebuilding efforts around the world.

The range of items at a ReStore is always surprising and it varies tremendously by location: I’ve seen everything from front doors to front-loading washing machines. And for the creatively inclined, this place is a mecca. The Dallas area ReStore knows what’s up: they’ve got their own Pinterest page with 25 boards featuring everything from Dallas ReStore sales and fab finds to inspiration for specific rooms around the house and upcycling ideas. I’ve already repinned a thrift store lamp makeover, projects using pallets, and a DIY furniture re-do from their pages. Jump to read more!

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