Forest Lane mural: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Forest Lane mural: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Our neighborhood — although full of high-profile residents — often flies under the radar in terms of front-page news. This year was different, however. Preston Hollow has seen one controversial re-zoning proposal after another, pitting homeowners against developers. But, that’s not all we’ve covered in 2014. Here, we’ll take a look back at our most popular stories of the year.

In January, neighbors packed into what was supposed to be a relatively small neighborhood meeting at Black-Eyed Pea to hear the proposal to build new luxury apartments at the busy northeast corner of Preston and Northwest Highway. It marked the beginning of a months-long debate about density in Preston Center. The project was scaled back and eventually ended after pressure from nearby homeowners. Across the street, another proposal for a residential tower, Highland House, suffered a similar fate. Now, the city is putting together a task force to study land-use and transportation in the Preston Center area, discouraging any major re-zoning in the process.

Out of nowhere in April, four single-family homes were demolished on Walnut Hill near Preston — a cause for concern among neighbors. As far as we know, the lots remain empty, and the owner’s plans unclear, although it’s unlikely a major change would happen without a zoning request.

This past summer, three restaurants opened in the new construction on Inwood just north of Forest: Rusty Taco, Einstein Bros. Bagels and The Juice Bar.

In June, Glen Meadow neighbors gathered to restore the Forest Lane mural, originally painted in the 1970s by W.T. White art students. Then, at least one resident behind the wall made a fuss about it, calling the mural an “eyesore,” and temporarily stalling the project. The restoration efforts prevailed in the end.

We learned in July about plans for PSW Real Estate’s new homes at Northaven and Fred Stern, right off the Northaven Trail. Look for an update on this soon.

The popular neighborhood diner, Kel’s Kitchen, closed in August after more than 50 years of business at Forest and Inwood.

Online readers loved our mini-profile on George Nikolopoulos, the owner of The Cobbler, which has operated at Preston-Royal for more than 40 years.

Have you ever really thought about how impressive the music is at our neighborhood houses of worship? We did so in our August cover story.

Our annual pet issue include an off-beat cover girl this time around: Petunia the pig.

Many neighborhood residents remember Carson Leslie, who died of brain cancer at age 17. That was five years ago. We revisited the story with his parents and friends for a feature in September (childhood cancer awareness month) about Carson’s legacy: the Carson Leslie Foundation. Also, if you haven’t already, you must read Carson’s book, “Carry Me,” published just before he died.

The northwest corner of Forest and Inwood is the subject of the most recent re-zoning proposal (and impending battle). Developers want to raze the Forestwood Townhouse Community for apartments and retail, including a grocer. Changes also are coming to the opposite side of the street.

At the northwest corner of Walnut Hill and Central, the much-anticipated Preston Hollow Village finally completed its first phase, and several new restaurants will begin opening in early 2015.

In one of our most popular posts of the year, we talked with former neighbor and Dixie Chick’s member Robin Macy, who recently returned to perform at Uncle Calvin’s in November.

In June, upon retiring as pastor of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Blair Monie also retired as our magazine’s worship columnist. In his last column, he offers a few words of wisdom.

The Advocate this year launched a readers’ choice contest, highlighting a new category each month. See our 2014 recap of winners — they might surprise you.

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