Plan Commission 2

Coming as no surprise, the final Preston Center Area Task Force plan passed Plan Commission Thursday. Even with all the political puffery and backslapping, approval took about 15 minutes. I say it comes as no surprise because there’s nothing surprising, insightful, or controversial about it. In fact, it could have been written two years ago before a single meeting was held or a single dollar spent.

A few self-congratulatory task force members got up to heap praise on the plan. Peter Kline and others said that for the first time in 40 years this group is actually in agreement.  Bill Archer said, “I don’t think there’s anything controversial in the plan.”

Well, ya got that right.


Task Force Title SM

UPDATE:  Both D Magazine’s Frontburner and Dallas Morning News’ City Hall Blog referenced this posting today.


The session on Feb. 16 was different from the recent Preston Center Task Force meetings. Nearly all the task force members were there … and about 50 residents showed up as well! Before I run through the high points, a pair of interesting things …

During the meeting, I was paying particular attention to Laura Miller, as she tends to speak often and with some authority. I’m not sure if her demeanor had softened with the blue jeans she was wearing, but at some point I realized she’s smart-smart versus just opportunistic-political-smart. I’m not saying I completely agree with her, but she connects the dots quicker than most. And lately, I’ve been in too many rooms filled with people unable to connect the dots.

Secondly, after the meeting I approached councilwoman Gates to make a (constructive) suggestion (that I’ll get to later) and her preemptive question was to ask if what was said tonight matched up with the plan I’d crafted oh so many months ago. “Kinda” I said, caught a little off guard. (In truth, I’ve said I don’t have the resources to drill into development comparisons as these consultants have, but my plan and conclusions have a lot of similarities.)

Anyway …


HH Aerial Preston Center

I read Candy’s post on low income housing…and I penned the following note.  In her openness to explore differing opinions, Candy suggested it would make a good counter-balance post. And she reminded me that the Dallas Morning News had an editorial Sunday about how southern Dallas housing is booming–

Two of the city’s three hottest residential real estate markets are south of the Trinity River, a trend that real estate experts say bodes well for efforts to stabilize and revitalize southern Dallas neighborhoods. In the first six months of this year, home prices in the Oak Cliff sector soared 30 percent from 2014 levels. Prices in the southern Dallas sector — roughly between Loop 12 and Interstate 20 — increased a hefty 21 percent.

Only one sector north of the Trinity saw similar increases: North Dallas climbed 22 percent.

The southern sector, of course, is where more affordable Dallas housing has been located. But yeah — 

As values increase, “there is an incentive to own property,” says Ted Wilson, principal at Dallas-based Residential Strategies, a real estate research and consulting firm. “To see values go up, there is good for the city and those communities.”

But not so good for poor people.


Liberal that I am, I have to say Schutze, reading through his smart-assery, is correct.

Busing poor kids into wealthier areas doesn’t have the impact of changing a child’s ultimate trajectory because the remaining 16-hours of their day are spent in less-than-ideal and potentially unsafe conditions.  There are numerous studies that show that placing entire families in modestly wealthier areas pays off.  It’s most critical for the youngest children because the same studies show that while a change at any age helps, the effect is diminished as children age. This isn’t surprising as very young children learn a variety of things, both positive and negative, that they carry for the rest of their lives. (more…)

HH Aerial Preston Center

Low income housing: it’s a real problem. How do you find affordable housing for people who earn little or no income in a period of real estate value growth?  We love gentrification because it leads to higher home values and make us richer — homeowners, investors. As our property values go up, the city collects more from us in property taxes. And we spend more, feel more confident. We sit and fan ourselves cool on our back porches, sipping margaritas, feeling pretty secure knowing our house values are not just secure but rising. It’s a good feeling, like knowing you’ve got a couple thousand in the bank. Studies show that consumers spend more when they know the values of their real estate are tilting upwards — they spend less and feel poor when values plummet.

All good for the $67,000 a year plus owner, but where do we build homes for poor people earning less than that once they are shushed out? Some liberals tend to think it’s great to mix up the pot, like school busing. Last week Schutze, who I usually like because he has a great BS detector when it comes to Dallas City politics, rattled off a crazy column about fair housing rules the Obama administration announced mid-week to repair the 1968 Fair Housing Law’s “unfulfilled promise and promote the kind of racially integrated neighborhoods that have long eluded deeply segregated cities.”

Schutze took aim at The Park Cities to blonde-bash (I pay good money for my blonde, thank you) and scream about the need to get more poor children into “areas of opportunity”: (more…)

Elevator Note

This is interesting. It is up in the elevators at Preston Towers. Do all three homeowner associations really oppose the skybridge (sky-bridge?) Because I own property in the area, and no one has asked my opinion!

Yes Sky bridge

Yes, there are are stickers. Signs to follow I’m sure.

No Sky-BridgeI have a Support Group I now attend every Wednesday around noon, thus I missed half the debate on the proposed sky-bridge that Crow Holdings wants to build in Preston Center in order to put a grocer in the second floor of the Preston Center Pavilion building.

Thank God for that Support Group: I will bet that half the City Council would have rather been there with me than where they were. It was the final meeting of the term, the agenda was bursting at the seams, and for once, I think Dallas City Council members earned their keep. (more…)