Yesterday, the results of the PD-15 authorized hearing had their first airing with City Plan Commission. Those expecting a knock-down, drag-out were disappointed. Those relishing hypocrisy, dipped in pretension, were not disappointed.

It was explained that because the opposition to the city’s PD-15 draft had paid the fee to postpone the meeting originally scheduled on March 21, the meeting had to take place that day because a postponement sets a clock ticking. Because of that, and the unavailability of the much-awaited traffic study, the CPC hearing was ultimately split into two parts. Traffic issues and more discussion will take place at the June 6 CPC meeting.

CPC chair Gloria Tarpley set out the game plan from the beginning so everyone understood what was being accomplished that day. Zoning cases usually have an applicant (someone wanting to do something) but the authorized hearing didn’t. So the meeting disposed of the usual presentation of whizzy graphs and ambitious drawings. Instead, Tarpley opened it up to public comment for those in support of the city’s recommendation and those opposed.

First up were those in support (myself included – I’m a PD-15 resident). I’m going to call it 10 people who spoke. Their comments can be bucketed into:

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[Editor’s note: Jon Anderson is a columnist for CandysDirt.com. His opinions are his own.]

While Thursday’s meeting fell short of the usual fireworks PD-15 brings about, the City Plan Commission asked some great questions regarding city staff’s proposed changes to PD-15.

In the lead-up to City Plan Commission’s public hearing on staff’s proposal for updating PD-15, staff briefed plan commissioners Thursday morning at Vital. Groups. Knee. Senior Planner Andrew Ruegg, who’s led the process so far, presented essentially the same slides as were shown to the community two weeks ago.

What the few who went to the meeting were most interested in were the questions and comments from the other commissioners. I give a “Hallelujah!” to CPC chair Gloria Tarpley for commenting that the 3-D images shown of the proposed changes would have been welcome at other cases. How the city can be devising “words on paper” documents reflecting 3-D realities without 3-D models has always been a mystery. It should be ante to the game.

The first questions were from District 11 appointee Janie Schultz. First, she was curious whether the requirement for a street lamp every 50-feet was adequate. While boilerplate, staff said they’d look into it. Schultz’ second question concerned the affordable housing sweeteners and whether anyone would use them. The suspicion is that along the northern side they will be unlikely to be used, while on the Northwest Highway side they may if the developer wants to get near tapping any height. It kind of goes to what I’ve been saying that if the buildable envelope doesn’t grow, it’s just cannibalizing market-rate units for affordable units.

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1928TrolleyandInterurban-Red

Tyler and Polk Streets in Red, 1928. Thick black lines denote trolley and Interurban routes. (Source: MC Toyer, phorum.dallashotsory.org)

You have two more chances to add your input to the redesign of Tyler and Polk Streets in North Oak Cliff. They’ve been a couplet of one-way streets for decades and are under consideration for a conversion back to two-way. Tyler-Polk isn’t alone in this conversation either — next up, McKinney and Cole.

Even if you just work or play in North Oak Cliff you can submit input. Speakers at the last meeting tended to qualify their opinions with their address and tenure in the neighborhood, but anyone can submit a comment card, or even easier, shoot an email to Councilman Scott Griggs: scott.griggs@dallascityhall.com.

Here’s What You Should Know

“The [newly converted two-way streets will] function as part of a safer, more comprehensible, less intimidating network, one that promotes multiple forms of transportation and better serves economic development.”  – Southbend, Indiana discussing a similar road conversion project

The primary objectives:

  • enhanced economic development opportunities for existing businesses and potential future development along these roads
  • increasing safety of other modes of transportation, especially biking and walking, but also bus transit
  • improve pedestrian experience (accomplishing the other two objectives) by slowing car speeds

Remember the first ever Better Block at Tyler & 7th, April 2010? That’s basically the inspiration here — more street life, which is better for business. Only the sidewalk widths aren’t changing and we won’t be adding outdoor cafe seating.

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New-Transwestern-rendering-Preston-Rd 

After attending my first Dallas Planning Commission meeting yesterday, I called my doctor for some anti-depressants to keep from cutting myself. I’ll give Commissioner Margot Murphy credit for putting attendees out of their misery quickly by moving the item up in the docket, but fault her for asking for a two-week delay in what has been nearly two years of tedium (history here, here, here and 25 more stories posted on Candysdirt.com). When the vote was taken to postpone, clearly not everyone was a “Yea” but no one had the guts to rock the boat and say “Nay.”

Why was the delay asked for? Shenanigans. Plain old political shenanigans.

Ya see, the Preston Hollow EAST Homeowners Association (PHEHA) which is directly north of the proposed development is apparently claiming surprise at the Planning Commission vote and in general at not being notified of the latest Transwestern proposal that’s been floating around since March. (You remember March, that was when we were hoping for a little rain.)

Ashley Parks, previous president and current PHEHA board member for the seemingly new post covering “zoning,” apparently missed the stories in the press, the discussions from the Preston Center Task Force meetings (of which she’s an appointed neighborhood representative) and the meeting last Thursday at the Baptist Church called by homeowners to talk one last time with Transwestern.

Oh, and apparently Parks missed the strings of communications sent directly by and to her and current PHEHA president Judy Smiley. Here’s a refresher …

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Betty Culbreath (Photo: Dallas Morning News City Hall Blog)

Betty Culbreath (Photo: Dallas Morning News City Hall Blog)

Sounds like Betty Culbreath is a CandysDirt.com reader, as the City Plan Commissioner called out our little Dallas real estate blog during her comments at the June 19 meeting in which the proposed Sam’s Club at Uptown East/East Village/Cityplace was discussed.

Her speech, which lasts about three minutes at the 1:26:15 mark, references the $30,000 millionaires we’re hearing so much about these days, how it’s all about neighborhoods, and pool floats! If you didn’t know, Betty Culbreath is a bit of a blogger in her own right.

Get the full listen after the jump, and then tell us what you think:

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jung-michael-web02072012124816His name is P. Michael Jung, he’s a partner with Strasburger and Price, and he has served on the Dallas City Plan Commission in the past. His background is appellate, financial services, governmental, infrastructure and land use, and real estate. He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of the Texas Land Conservancy [as president]; the Texas Creative Problem Solving Organization; the White Rock Lake Museum; the White Rock Lake Task Force; and the White Rock Neighborhood Association [as president]; he has past service on the boards of Texas Neighborhoods Together; the Dallas Homeowners League; the Friends of Fair Park, and King of Glory Lutheran Church.

Does this man ever sleep?