[Editor’s note: Jon Anderson is a columnist for CandysDirt.com who lives in District 13. His opinions are his own.]

It’s only been a few days since I broke the story of former Dallas mayor Laura Miller’s candidacy for city council District 13, and the whirlwind of sound bites has already begun. Multiple news outlets have reported variations on Miller’s bite of being a “mellow” 60-year-old in an attempt to distance herself from her combative days as mayor. Any news outlet covering Miller’s campaign will quickly see that for the political lie it is. Ignoring Miller’s combative attacks on council member Jennifer Gates, how “mellow” is it to join Twitter for the express purpose of calling out Gates in six tweets that now seem to have been scrubbed? But as you’ll see below, Twitter never forgets.

(Editor’s note: Miller did not delete her Tweets, they were all replies to Gates, which we documented in this December 2018 story. In the interest of transparency, we’re linking to it now, and indicating our error with a mark through).

Ignoring campaign rhetoric japes, Miller is unabashedly running for city council because of zoning – specifically, two zoning cases that haven’t made it to plan commission yet. This myopathy pigeonholes her as a one-trick-pony candidate in a district and city that requires more.

Equally telling is a seeming lack of research by Dallas news outlets. WFAA identified Miller supporter Steve Dawson as a “resident.” Dawson lives in University Park and can’t vote for her. His family owns a small apartment complex behind the Pink Wall. As regular readers know, seemingly to keep competition out, Dawson fought the Pink Wall’s Laurel development at Miller’s side and continues to fight area progress. In the WFAA story, Dawson claims Miller has wide support in District 13. If that were true, why didn’t she offer up a “reference” who actually lives in the district?

In Miller’s announcement, she names former Sen. John Carona and former city council members Donna Blumer, Mitchell Rasansky, and Sid Stahl as supporters. Given their admitted ignorance of the zoning issues in the district, I wonder if their support is little more than the toll of friendship.

That a city district with many needs is reduced to a single issue in a single area should be troubling to residents living outside the Preston Center orbit. To get very specific, anyone who is untouched by St. Michael and All Angel’s proposed development of Frederick Square and the redevelopment of Planned Development District 15 (PD-15) within the Pink Wall should be very wary of Miller’s desire to do much for you.

For those involved with these two zoning cases, Miller may wind up being a paper tiger.

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fire protection

What a difference 38 years makes

Times change. Accidents happen. We learn. Prior to the 1960s, it was not uncommon for automobile dashboards to be metal and seats to lack seat belts and head support. Similarly, we continue to learn and improve construction materials, techniques, and building codes to make us all safer.

The March 3 tragedy at the Preston Place condos offers an exemplar of some of those changes. Recently, I spoke with Perry Wallace, 30-year construction veteran and VP of Construction for Transwestern and Dallas Fire Department Deputy Chief Michael Price. I wanted to understand the advancements that have been made over the past 38 years since Preston Place was built. Transwestern is currently building the Laurel apartments at the corner of Preston Road and Northwest Highway. Chief Price was the lead firefighter on the Preston Place fire.

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Ebby Exterior No Clouds

The iconic Little White House at Preston Road and Northwest Highway has been a fixture in the neighborhood since Ebby Halliday purchased it in 1964. (Photos: Ebby Halliday Realtors)

So much change is happening at the intersection of Preston Road and Northwest Highway. New luxury apartments are being built on the northeast corner of this busy intersection, construction cones seem a permanent fixture on the southwest corner, and Mark Cuban has bought up several lots nearby and razed the existing homes.

But the northwest corner, home of Ebby Halliday’s Little White House — the signature office of the grand dame of Dallas real estate — isn’t changing anytime soon. In fact, the iconic building was just renovated to perfection, offering gorgeous interiors for clients and the latest technology to the Ebby Halliday Realtors who office there.

“The vision for our remodel was an updated, usable, relevant space that works better; one that allows for easy collaboration between agents and staff,” said Keith Newman, the office’s sales manager. “As part of the remodel, every surface was touched, from the lobby, conference rooms, agent offices and workspaces, even the kitchen and bathrooms. While consistent with the office’s exterior, our interior is all-new, with artwork from local galleries, including paintings and vintage sculptures.”

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New-Transwestern-rendering-Preston-Rd

As predicted, we are all two-weeks older since the Planning Commission fobbed-off the vote on the proposed Transwestern development at the northeast corner of Preston Road and Northwest Highway. What, if any, votes changed in those two weeks is unknown, but I suspect few. Certainly attendees were not treated to German band Texas Lightening popping out of a cake as I’d hoped.

In those two weeks Transwestern held a meeting largely for angry single-family homeowners upset that the proposal had moved on without them paying attention and seemingly their neighborhood association not informing them. Thankfully I was busy elsewhere that evening. However, I invited Candy over after the fireworks to spill the beans while I plied her with wine.

Also in those two weeks the opposition became a bit more organized and vocal, certainly putting up more of a show at today’s Planning Commission meeting.

And a show it was… hours of tedium and speechifying. It was like church without the wine and crackers.

The same tired rubrics about density, traffic and parking ultimately found no purchase with the Commission. Especially after both the Transwestern-hired traffic engineering representative and the City traffic planning representative spoke. Those arguments were shot, gutted, stuffed and mounted on the rumpus room wall. (more…)

New Transwestern rendering Preston Rd

By Claire Stanard
Guest Contributor

In the CandysDirt.com re-cap of the August 27 Town Hall meeting regarding Transwestern’s proposed four story apartments, she concludes by stating:

“This is what we pay them for: the Dallas City Council will vote on the zoning change, basing their decision on the highest and best use of the land not for me, or … anyone else, but for the City of Dallas.”

So is this all about reaping more property tax dollars from developers, simply because we can’t develop a quality Dallas school system to attract home owner families?

And, if Transwestern receives their zoning variance, how can the Planning Commission or City Council say “no” to the next developer Behind the Pink Wall? It has been rumored for two years that Mark Cuban is just waiting to see what happens to Transwestern’s zoning application before he proceeds. (more…)

Transwestern Meeting 2

See this room? On Thursday night it will be Dallas City Councilman Lee Kleinman up at the podium, leading yet another neighborhood discussion on the proposal that Transwestern has made for 3 acres Behind the Pink Wall, aka the northeast intersection of Northwest Highway and Preston Road.

This comes because and because and because.

I applaud Lee and Dallas City Plan Commissioner Margot Murphy for making this process as transparent as possible, for listening to all sides, and for giving the neighborhood AMPLE opportunity to voice concerns, ask questions, etc. etc. The only other thing they could do is hand out megaphones and give every neighbor living from Northwest Highway north to LBJ a free email account for 60 days.

I jest.

This is the same place where we had the last meeting to discuss the proposal Transwestern has made for 3 acres Behind the Pink Wall, aka the northeast intersection of Northwest Highway and Preston Road.

You know what else I love about this? One, the Transwestern case has made me very good at cutting and pasting. Two, I’m hoping Jon Anderson invites us over for drinks again after the meeting.  Maybe before. Sure beats exercising and we get to WALK from his condo to one of the prettiest churches in Dallas.

Night Cometh…

CoD Logo
Headshot LMK
YOU ARE INVITED
Please join me for a community meeting to discuss the Transwestern development in District 13. Presentations will be given by Mark Culwell with Transwestern and Bill Dahlstrom with Jackson Walker. If you need additional information please contact my office at 214-670-7817
 WHEN
Thursday, August 27, 2015
6:30PM8:00PM
 
WHERE
Park Cities Baptist Church – Fellowship Hall
3933 Northwest Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75225
 
 
 
Councilmember Lee M. Kleinman | Dallas City Hall 1500 Marilla Street, Dallas 75201

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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New-Transwestern-rendering-Preston-Rd

Last night Candy and I, both Pink Wall property owners, attended the (hopefully) final neighborhood meeting with Transwestern on their proposed complex on the northeast corner of Preston and Northwest Highway. It goes before the City Council on Aug. 20.

While the proposed structure will not win any design awards, it’s inoffensive. And of those attending this meeting, there were certainly more positive than negative.

We all have differing thresholds of skill and patience. Watching this gathering I was stunned how well the Transwestern representatives kept their cool in the face of some ill-conceived, often repetitive questions. I kept mumbling under my breath during most of them, thinking the answers were either idiotic, obvious, or previously discussed ad-nauseum in the nearly two years this has been percolating.

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