Community residents attended an information session regarding the authorized hearing process that could completely transform the neighborhood surrounding Hampton and Clarendon roads.

By Michael Amonett
Guest Columnist

An authorized hearing has been set in motion to rezone an area in Oak Cliff at the intersection of Hampton and Clarendon roads.  The area was once a small farming community settled in the 1870s called Jimtown. Clarendon Road was Jimtown Road, and was built along the old Santa Fe Railroad right of way.  Historic buildings and car repair shops dot the area, including the Sunset Theater built in 1922 at 1112 S. Hampton. The theater partially burned in 1957 and today is part of the M.S. Lumber Yard.  Oak Cliff was annexed into Dallas in 1903, and Jimtown was annexed later in 1915.

Authorized hearings can be initiated by an applicant, the City Council, or can start with the City Planning Commission.  This particular one was authorized by the CPC and former CPC member Chad West at the behest of some of the area commercial property owners.  The area fronting Hampton is currently zoned Community Retail (CR). Clarendon is also zoned CR as well as Community Services (CS). There is a small parcel adjacent to the CS zoning on Clarendon that is zoned exclusively for parking and approximately 45 single-family homes in the southwest corner are zoned multi-family.  

These zoning classifications are outdated and unstable.  The single-family homes can become apartments or shared-access condos by right at any time.  The one- and two-story historic buildings that sit directly on Clarendon and Hampton roads can be torn down for a CVS or a Wells Fargo and pulled back away from the street with parking in the front.  Not only would you lose irreplaceable historic resources, you’d lose the current urban streetscape forms that interact with pedestrians and cyclists and replace them with parking lots that break up the historic block-face.  The businesses inside these buildings currently are stable mom-and-pop businesses; most of them Latino.

(more…)

Tower Spacing: Through Thick and Thin, Thick Matters

There’s a bit of a special language being formulated between the Authorized Hearing committee members. For example, when the city facilitator recaps a prior discussion by saying, “We agreed on X,” a committee member or two will pipe up “We didn’t agree on that.”  What they really mean is they didn’t. And since they didn’t agree, there could be no agreement. Everyone believing they’re getting 100 percent out of this is a recipe for nothing ever being decided. Ancient children not wanting to share their toys.

(more…)

Council Member Jennifer Gates’ office has posted updates to the PD-15 Authorized Hearing Steering Committee. First, note that the committee membership continues to change. Robert Bowling is now the second representative for Preston Tower and Karen Stuart has replaced Jim Panipinto as the representative from Diamond Head Condos. Panipinto is now listed “at large” (whatever that means).

Stuart replaced Panipinto after residents voiced their opposition to his representing the interests of Diamond Head Condos. Understandable, considering he’s not a resident of the building (he owns a rental unit in the building).

The FAQ document has also been updated, but not enough. For example, in the “Other” section:

(more…)

Updated: PD-15 Authorized Hearing Committee members

UPDATE: In the immortal words of the Miss America pageant, “If for any reason Miss America is unable to fulfill her duties…” Astute readers will see that Preston Tower representative Mary Schulte has bowed out and been replaced by Robert Bowling.

Yesterday afternoon, the people selected to be part of the PD-15 authorized hearing committee were posted. Kudos to council member Jennifer Gates for keeping her promise to exclude those opposed to the authorized hearing process, who would likely seek to sabotage the proceedings from within.

You will note that the towers have two representatives on the committee. This was done in recognition of the land mass of PD-15. Roughly the towers and the four low-rises each sit on six acres and and so there are four representatives for each camp. This makes for an interesting group. Within the PD, neither side can outvote the other, so collaboration will be required. Also, the three “wild card” members from Preston Hollow East Homeowners Association and two neighboring buildings are just that, wild cards. How will they feel about the various development plans and options?  I think the pulse of the group will be taken in the first few meetings. (more…)