Did a developer offer to buy votes of approval for his proposed residential project in North Dallas?

On Sunday, I received a note from Doug Bedell, a resident who seems to be leading the opposition to the proposed Northaven Trail Village project that would see 35 homes constructed on a 4.4-acre parcel zoned for 19 homes. The development was part of former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller’s anti-development campaign rhetoric and one of three precincts she bested council member Jennifer Gates. (Background here, here)

Bedell forwarded me an email from another resident, Amy Wallace titled, “Northaven Trail Village buying votes.” The brief email, dated June 12th, stated, “I was approached Sunday by Mr. Gleeson, who wants to build the homes where the school is. He was trying to collect my blue form for the city. I didn’t give it to him. Today he called me and offered me $300 if he could pick it up and deliver it downtown. He’s trying to buy us off!(Emphasis theirs)

For reference, “Gleeson” is David Gleeson who’s working with David Weekley Homes on this project.

There was no evidence supplied that this offer was made to more than Ms. Wallace and Gleeson responded that, “I made such an offer to one person — out of frustration and exasperation at trying to get that person to take the time to fill out the form. I have hand delivered letters/presentation to 49 homeowners who have not turned in their forms; placed MANY phone calls and follow-up calls; knocked on doors; follow-up emails.  MOST of the 119 residents in the Notification Area designated by the City obviously do not care about this case.”

A second response clarified, “no payments have, or will be made.”

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It is not enough that the hotly contested District 13 City Council race between Laura Miller and Jennifer Staubach Gates has frozen forward progress Behind the Pink Wall, keeping victims of the Preston Place fire in limbo as to their financial future. Now it could also stymie new home development in Northwest Dallas.

About 4.4 acres of land at 10210 Webb Chapel Road once belonged to Mi Escualita Preschool. The property has sat vacant for at least six and a half years, but was recently was purchased by developer David Gleeson with hopes to build detached single-family homes on the land with a large national homebuilder such as David Weekley Homes. The homes, perfect for downsizing Baby Boomers, will be approximately 2,000 to 3,000 square feet in size, with prices ranging from $375,000 to $475,000.

And Gleeson has followed city protocol in order to obtain zoning for the new homes, which he says will add value to the neighborhood. And though he has talked to them, as well as other builders, the development is not a David Weekley Homes project at this point.

Still, Laura Miller included the development as No. 8 on her “Top 10” reasons of why Jennifer Gates won’t debate her (there have been at least 3 debates) and why District 13 residents should vote her in and incumbent Gates out. Miller also included the proposed development in her Dallas Morning News Voter profile.

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