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We knew this day was coming. The day we’d see new construction of high-density, mixed-use projects all over North Oak Cliff. We rezoned less than a year ago to allow the growth we knew was coming, and hopefully have some control over how it transpires.

So here we are, faced with a developer wanting to listen to the community and do a ‘good’ project. Enter: Matt Segrest and Wade Johns of Dallas-based Alamo Manhattan. They’re developing the proposed Bishop Arts Gateway project, three 5-story buildings along Zang Blvd at Davis St and Seventh St. They say they’re in it for the long term, and that they cut their teeth developing in Portland and Seattle so they understand Streetcars and well-built neighborhoods. So they called a meeting with the neighborhood Thursday to get our input.

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It’s all a bit ironic if you think about it – a meeting of past gentrifiers to talk about future gentrification. Granted, not all of us at the meeting moved to O.C. from somewhere else. A couple attendees had a tenure longer than a few decades. The rest of us moved here after the police station storefront opened and closed on Bishop, after the city spent over a million dollars to build great sidewalks and plant trees, after the Texas Theatre and The Kessler were restored…

So what are we really talking about here? The changing character of a neighborhood and its people. The issue isn’t unique to Bishop Arts though, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Some call it gentrification (that dirty word), others progress.

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5915 Anita Front

Stonewall Terrace is a fantastic neighborhood. The homes are adorable, there are restaurants and shops everywhere, there are tons of pedestrians and cyclists, nearby mass transit, and there’s easy access to North Central Expressway. But what really makes Stonewall Terrace a fantastic family neighborhood is its namesake elementary campus, Stonewall Jackson Elementary.

5915 Anita LivingThis neighborhood has pulled the school up by its bootstraps thanks to a super supportive early childhood PTA that has kept the trains running on time. That’s one of the reasons that this neighborhood, which is near the exceptionally popular M Streets, has skyrocketed as of late. But if you think you can’t find a deal in Stonewall Terrace, think again.

5915 Anita Dining

This adorable cottage at 5915 Anita St. is listed by Dallas City Center Realtor Patricia McCrite for $379,500. With almost 2,000 square feet, you’d be surprised at the size of this home from the curb. It is so adorable, isn’t it? But it’s truly spacious and still private feeling, thanks to the updates this home has received.

5915 Anita Kitchen

With beautiful built-ins and a lovely formal living and dining area, you could hold intimate get-togethers in this home. The kitchen is a bit modest, but there’s still room for a breakfast nook, so it’s not too terribly small. If you’re ambitious, you could expand the kitchen into the formal dining room and open the entire area up.

5915 Anita Master Bed 5915 Anita Master Bath

There’s a den, and the master suite features a living area, too. With three bedrooms and two baths, there’s plenty of room for a family. And with the hardwood floors, tons of great built-ins, this home will have room to grow.

5915 Anita Den

The backyard features a huge deck and separate fenced-in area, perfect for a family with a couple of pooches. What do you think of this home?

5915 Anita Deck 5915 Anita  Backyard

Waterbridge Front

Lochwood is a great neighborhood that has lovely topography, great location, and a stellar collection of midcentury architecture in affordable price ranges. But what’s a neighborhood without great neighbors?

If you’ve been dreaming of settling down in Lochwood, well, consider that this neighborhood is full of fantastic homes and fabulous people. For an example of a beautiful home in Lochwood, look no further than 10821 Waterbridge Circle. This beautiful midcentury modern-style home built in 1961 has been tastefully updated with fantastic finishes.

Waterbridge Living

With four bedrooms and three full baths over more than 2,100 square feet, this spacious ranch is open and bright. It’s a fabulous home for entertaining, thanks to the high ceilings and hand-scraped hardwood floors. It’s marketed by the Meg Skinner Team at Dave Perry-Miller & Associates for $349,900.

Waterbridge Dining Waterbridge Kitchen

The photography from Shoot2Sell really shows you all the wonderful features of this 1961-built ranch, especially the renovated kitchen, which features granite counters and a mosaic backsplash, a perfect match for the fresh white cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

Now, about the fabulous people: According to this DMN story, Karen Brasher was in the middle of going through a distressed sale and moving to an apartment after her husband lost his job when her spouse of more than 20 years, John Brasher, had a sudden heart attack and died. What happened afterwards speaks to the amazing neighborhood organization Lochwood has nurtured:

Within a few hours, she had received more than 100 condolences and offers of help, said Cara Leigh Ingram, who helps administer the association Facebook page.

“It’s been overwhelmingly incredible,” Ingram said.

“So sorry for your loss,” one neighbor wrote. “I am availabletomorrowto help pack things …”

“Willing to help!” wrote another. “Do you need us to organize a packing/moving time or a clean out the house time?”

“I’m so sorry for your loss,” another post read. “My condolences. Don’t worry about the stuff.”

When Brasher responded with thanks and a request for pet food, neighbors showed up with bags and cans.

They also set up a meal-delivery system for her and her 16-year-old daughter, Nicole. She has an adult daughter from a previous marriage.

One individual has offered to start a page on Gofundme.com to accept monetary donations.

Just incredible. Don’t you just love how Lochwood stepped up for a neighbor in need? That’s what we need more of these days — neighbors that have the holiday spirit throughout the year. Now find your perfect Lochwood home and join in on the love!

Waterbridge Master Waterbridge Master Bath Waterbridge Backyard

Waterbridge Front

Lochwood is a great neighborhood that has lovely topography, great location, and a stellar collection of midcentury architecture in affordable price ranges. But what’s a neighborhood without great neighbors?

If you’ve been dreaming of settling down in Lochwood, well, consider that this neighborhood is full of fantastic homes and fabulous people. For an example of a beautiful home in Lochwood, look no further than 10821 Waterbridge Circle. This beautiful midcentury modern-style home built in 1961 has been tastefully updated with fantastic finishes.

Waterbridge Living

With four bedrooms and three full baths over more than 2,100 square feet, this spacious ranch is open and bright. It’s a fabulous home for entertaining, thanks to the high ceilings and hand-scraped hardwood floors. It’s marketed by the Meg Skinner Team at Dave Perry-Miller & Associates for $349,900.

Waterbridge Dining Waterbridge Kitchen

The photography from Shoot2Sell really shows you all the wonderful features of this 1961-built ranch, especially the renovated kitchen, which features granite counters and a mosaic backsplash, a perfect match for the fresh white cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

Now, about the fabulous people: According to this DMN story, Karen Brasher was in the middle of going through a distressed sale and moving to an apartment after her husband lost his job when her spouse of more than 20 years, John Brasher, had a sudden heart attack and died. What happened afterwards speaks to the amazing neighborhood organization Lochwood has nurtured:

Within a few hours, she had received more than 100 condolences and offers of help, said Cara Leigh Ingram, who helps administer the association Facebook page.

“It’s been overwhelmingly incredible,” Ingram said.

“So sorry for your loss,” one neighbor wrote. “I am availabletomorrowto help pack things …”

“Willing to help!” wrote another. “Do you need us to organize a packing/moving time or a clean out the house time?”

“I’m so sorry for your loss,” another post read. “My condolences. Don’t worry about the stuff.”

When Brasher responded with thanks and a request for pet food, neighbors showed up with bags and cans.

They also set up a meal-delivery system for her and her 16-year-old daughter, Nicole. She has an adult daughter from a previous marriage.

One individual has offered to start a page on Gofundme.com to accept monetary donations.

Just incredible. Don’t you just love how Lochwood stepped up for a neighbor in need? That’s what we need more of these days — neighbors that have the holiday spirit throughout the year. Now find your perfect Lochwood home and join in on the love!

Waterbridge Master Waterbridge Master Bath Waterbridge Backyard

Woodlawn Front

Today’s dispatch is written from the comfort of a home with electricity and from under one of these. Our power was finally restored at 6 p.m. Monday evening after more than 85 hours of becoming displaced from winter storm Cleon. Our home is thawing, and there are murderous-looking icicles hanging from our eaves. In all, we’re lucky we didn’t end up with a more serious electrical problem, as folks in our neighborhood dealt with service panels ripped from their home’s exterior as the weight of downed limbs sent lines to the ground. A special shout-out goes to the crews with Alabama Power, who worked hard to restore electricity to our neighborhood. Those linemen are going on my Christmas card list, that’s for sure.

Woodlawn Living Woodlawn Loft

Now that Icemaggedon (or Icepocalypse 2013, if you prefer) is waning, my thoughts return to cozy homes now that my own home is cozy. This completely remodeled Craftsman bungalow in North Oak Cliff really caught my eye, and you’ll understand why. Sometimes folks do hodge-podge remodels of these homes and they just turn out ugly. This one at 915 Woodlawn is beautiful and modern, with a cool loft over the living room.

Listed for $299,000 by Chris Arnold’s Premier Realty Group, this home has some really stunning features. It’s inside Kidd Springs, too, and just a couple of blocks from the recently renovated Kidd Springs Recreation Center, the Bishop Arts District, The Kessler X+ area, Tyler/Davis, and Lake Cliff Park. It’s a lovely neighborhood with fantastic homes in a variety of architectural styles just minutes from downtown. With more than 1,500 square feet, three bedrooms and two full baths, this home is fantastic for a family who wants to live in North Oak Cliff but doesn’t want to put in the sweat equity it takes to rip one of these homes down to the studs and start over.

Woodlawn Dining Woodlawn Kitchen

This home fulfills almost everything on my wishlist — stainless steel appliances and new cabinets, hardwood floors and tile in the kitchen, two full baths, two dining areas, and vaulted ceilings in the living room — but one very crucial thing is missing: a fireplace.

Now, that wouldn’t be a big deal to me, but after not having power in a 1950s-era home without a fireplace, this is one feature that I can’t compromise on. Good thing there are some really cool, really reasonably price stand-alone fireplaces you can put in. Maybe you want to do a wood-burning stove, or just a gas fireplace. A lot of these can be purchased and installed for less than $5,000 and are totally worth every penny. Put one in the living room and keep the flue exposed for a wonderful transitional look.

Woodlawn Bedroom Woodlawn Master Bath Woodlawn Sunroom

I do love the windows in this home, and the front porch, which is a fabulous feature that, with the right furniture, will help you get to know your neighbors. You’ll appreciate the decent-sized corner lot, too.

What do you think of this home?

 

7707 Northaven Front

Let’s talk about Hill Haven Heights, OK? I love this area. It is a fabulous neighborhood bordered by North Central Expressway, Hillcrest, Forest, and Royal, so it’s extremely accessible. It’s also full of great single-family homes and a few great condo communities. It’s not far from the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, or the scads of shopping options lining Highway 75.

7707 Northaven Living

And it’s not out of reach, price-wise, either. In fact, you should check out this amazing traditional at 7707 Northaven Road marketed by Clay Stapp agent Richard Baker. It’s on the market for a recently reduced $529,000. Considering the upgrades on this home, that’s fantastic!

7707 Northaven Dining

With more than 3,100 square feet, four bedrooms, three and a half baths, and a two-car garage, this home is plenty big for a family. And considering the neighborhood, this is a great house for someone relocating to Dallas. Sometimes it’s hard to find a home like this, that’s move-in ready, plenty of room to move around, and has a family-friendly backyard, pool included. If you’re headed to Dallas for a job transfer, this is the home to buy.

7707 Northaven Kitchen

You’ve got granite and travertine, hand-scraped hardwood floors, upgraded kitchen with stainless steel appliances including a wine fridge and custom cabinetry, and two full living areas with an open floor plan. Behind all of that you’ll find practical upgrades such as a radiant barrier insulating the roof, tankless hot water heaters, and a new roof. The large backyard is nothing to sniff at, either.

7707 Northaven Master 7707 Northaven Master bath

The master suite is spacious and features an upgraded bath, including a ceiling fan. This is an often-overlooked feature that really helps during the summer. In the bedroom area you’ll notice French doors that look to the pool and deck area — another great feature that makes this room a wonderful retreat.

7707 Northaven Backyard

And if you’re relocating to Dallas, you’ll probably be overwhelmed by your first summer. All the more reason to consider this home, which has a great pool for cooling off when the heat reaches triple digits.

What do you think of this house?

Monte Vista Front

I know that sometimes, preserving historic neighborhoods and architecture can be a big ol’ pain in the butt. Just ask the folks over at Casa Linda Estates who have tried at least twice to pass an NSO (Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay) and failed. Some people say that whittling down property rights in a residential neighborhood makes it harder to sell a home. Others think that any regulation of private property puts a costly burden on homeowners.

Monte Vista Living

But what if historic preservation elevated a neighborhood, made it more consistent, gave it its own personality, and ensured standards that would endure beyond this decade to the next? That’s the story behind Hollywood/Santa Monica — an East Dallas neighborhood that used to be dumpy and ignored — the red-headed stepchild of Lakewood. That was until some very determined neighbors decided to come up with some standards for their community that they could enforce, some rules and regulations to hold others accountable. And what do you see now in Hollywood Heights and Santa Monica? Homes like this amazing 1928 Tudor at 618 Monte Vista.

Monte Vista Hall

Marketed by Joe Kacynski for an astonishing $445,000, this gorgeous home is all traditional on the outside — totally in step with the rest of the neighborhood — but inside it is a modern work of art. There are so many great features to this 1,720-square-foot home that you will be bowled over. The gorgeous modern custom millwork and cabinetry, the nooks and doors that make this home so extremely versatile, and the backyard that is begging for a fall soiree — all designed by Coy Talley, an absolute genius who is known for his work at the Perot.

MonteVista Kitchen MonteVista Breakfast

Can you imagine the possibilities? I mean, check out the huge ash pivot door that opens to the dining area, or the gallery hallway with built-in cabinets and drawers. The kitchen, which has some of the most unique counters and cabinets I have ever seen. And the master bathroom, which might inspire the buyers to become Zen practitioners. Of course, not everything is uber modern, as the original stained glass windows are still installed.

Monte Vista Master Monte Vista Master Bath

With three bedrooms and two baths, this home is worth every bit of its asking price just for the great design that went into it. And you’ll also love the garage, which Talley designed to be a sort of icehouse with sliding doors that open to the terraced backyard.

If you want to see this home up close (and come on, you know you do) it’s open from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday. Run, don’t walk, to check this amazing home out!

Monte Vista Backyard

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When I was a member of the Urban Acres Co-op, our pickup was at Promise of Peace Garden off East Grand Avenue. That was when I met Elizabeth Dry, the founder of the garden. At that time, the DISD teacher told me that she was looking to relocate the garden to Casa Linda park, which sits between Casa Linda Estates, a railroad track, and Little Forest Hills. That plan went bust, though.

A few weeks ago I heard stirs that the huge piles of mulch that had materialized on Old Gate and Diceman, across the street from White Rock United Methodist Church, were to form the new home for Promise of Peace. While I may not live in Little Forest Hills, many of my friends do, and some live within startling proximity of the garden’s new location.

What residents say is that, although there was a community meeting regarding the garden, far more people disapprove of the garden’s proposed location than have been reported. In fact, they’ve surveyed nearby residents and at least 20 of them are against Promise of Peace moving in. Truly, this controversy has nothing to do with the Methodists giving the Catholics at St. Bernard of Clairvaux a place to park. It has everything to do with a poorly planned community garden right next to an established neighborhood, and the severe lack of communication between the Methodist church and those neighbors. In fact, the homeowners directly adjacent to the garden’s proposed location were never contacted, were never asked for input or permission of any kind. Galling, I know.

For the full response from one neighbor uncomfortably close to the situation, jump.

No one from the garden has ever attempted to contact my husband or myself directly. I went over to the church on April 30 and sought out some answers after the mulch pile began to appear. The assoc. Pastor admitted that someone “should have contacted you as you will be most greatly affected” by the project due to our proximity (directly next to) to the proposed garden. I was told that there would be several raised beds in a u-shape, bringing them very close to my property line and no fence. We have no other direct contact since.

During the last week, we have circulated a letter to over 60 homes in the streets directly adjacent to the parking lots. These letters have asked the residents to vote for or against the garden. There are 20 returned letters have marked that they are against the garden. There has been one positive response. We are hoping that more people will return the letters so we can have a more representative sample of the mood of the directly affected neighbors as a whole.

It seems that there are more than a few disgruntled people as these blog posts seem to keep implying. Sheffie Kadane was also quoted in the Dallas Morning News as saying there are 3-4 people against the garden.

Also from the DMN article:
“Dry, who lives in the neighborhood, introduced the plan to a meeting of the Little Forest Hills Neighborhood Association last month and “the reaction was positive,” says Max Davis, the group’s co-president.

Then came the first signs that Promise of Peace was indeed moving in. A tree-trimming company dumped a load of donated mulch on the parking lot, and Dry added a sign saying “Imagine a Garden.” Several nearby homeowners — Davis puts the number at five — visualized things far worse.”

I was told by someone who was at that meeting that there were about 15 people in attendance, hardly a sampling of the entire neighborhood. And she is against it. Was she considered part of the positive response or are these folks just trying to ignore the dissenters?

The idea of resident only parking has been discussed amongst a few people on my block and the procedure has been researched. So that is definitely a possibility to be addressed in the future. Displacing 60 parking spaces will have an impact on several side streets during the busy holidays, weddings, funerals, bazaars and other events that occur at the churches.

As for calling me a NIMBY, well this is garden will actually be right against my property line. Therefore it will not only be in my BACK Yard, but also my SIDE yard, and my FRONT yard. So far the “garden” has brought a pile of mulch that stinks after rain. When the wind was in the right direction the stench filled my home even with the windows closed. When the wind shifted my neighbor across the street noticed the same stench in her home. The smell lessens after the surface dries out. One of the neighbors has seen the mulch covered with rats in the middle of the night. That is certainly activity that I want to encourage.

I have yet to figure out why anyone would want to try to grow vegetables in the middle of a black parking lot in the Texas summer. I have been told that there is not a plan to fence the area as that would hinder the sense of “community” that the garden is hoping to promote. The people planning this garden do not see the 50+ people that walk/jog through that parking lot every day. It is a major thruway. Some people are on their healthy daily walk, most with dogs, many with multiple dogs. (Is a raised garden bed as good as a fire hydrant? I am sure we will see) I am sure that all of those people are very honest folks that would never take a tomato as they walk past. Like the folks that walk across my yard, right up to the porch to collect the fallen pecans from my trees every autumn. And those that are apparently availing themselves of “free” mulch as the “Do not take mulch” signs that have appeared this week attest. The greater produce thieves are the birds, squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, possums and other creatures that roam the area. They will be greatly attracted to the area for the buffet. Plus mulch and loose dirt means new cat boxes!

I see the necessity of a fence going up along my property line at some point. One of the reasons we bought this house was because of the open feeling because of nothing along one side of the property.

I was under the impression that community gardens were in areas where there are no yards. For example, inner city neighborhoods, areas dense with apartments/condos. Everyone in this neighborhood has a yard. Where is the need to rent a box of dirt in a parking lot where the only shade comes from a telephone pole? Why not plant in your own yard?

Why doesn’t Ms Dry put this garden at the school where she teaches? Or behind the church in the lot that is not adjacent to homes? Or some other place? Why isn’t the rat infested mulch pile next to her yard?

Our greatest concerns are simple.

1. Increased traffic and noise.
a. Look at the POP website. Yard sales, cooking classes, bus loads of children, live music and other events. Ms Dry claims that she will not be doing these things in the garden in the future. So if all of your events are to take place inside the church why is the garden across a busy street from that church? Why not put the garden in the other lot adjacent to the church? The parking lot that is not directly adjacent to homes.
b. Displacing 60 parking spaces therefore increasing the on street parking in the neighborhood.
2. Decreased property values. The homeowners within a stone’s throw of the garden feel that the garden will greatly decrease the ability for any of us to sell our homes.

I understand that the church can do what they want with their property and the garden will end up in the parking lot. There is nothing we can do to stop it even though a majority of the local residents oppose it and only a small percentage is for it.