The Dallas City Council voted to approve the zoning change of the property slated for development at the corner of Forest Lane and Nuestra Drive.
The vote followed a public hearing where many neighbors asked the Council to oppose the zoning change, which would enable the developer to build 26 single-family dwellings on a property originally zoned for no more than nine. Neighbors expressed concerns about the property becoming a heat island due to a lack of trees, traffic issues, increased density and violation of deed restrictions.
“I need you guys to listen to us. We need our City Council to do the right thing. Please oppose this with us,” said neighbor Janelle Alcantara.
Most neighbors in the surrounding area of the property are opposed to the plan. At a recent town hall meeting, more than 300 people attended, and 97% did not support the plan. City staff recommended the zoning change request be denied, but the City Plan Commission recommended approval, subject to a revised development plan.
“I am for development, but it needs to be the right development,” said neighbor Michael Burks.
The City of Dallas purchased the property with 2006 bond funds and planned to use funds from the sale of the property to rebuild or renovate the Preston Royal Branch Library.
Bill Davis, who works with the developer, said at the meeting they had been working with neighbors to address concerns. They originally planned to build 33 residential units on the 3.5 acre property but reduced the number to 26. In addition, Davis said they doubled the amount of green space planned for the project.
District 13 City Councilwoman Gay Donnell Willis, who was praised by her fellow Council members for her diligent work throughout the process, said she listened to neighbors’ concerns about density. But it was those concerns that led her to support the zoning change, with amendments.
“It’s very likely that a project of far greater density would likely await, and it could be multifamily, and it could easily become part of the equation in order to make the project go due to the expenses,” Donnell Willis said. “The City and Council will be under a lot of pressure to take the next deal, and the prospect of more density than the current project represents is my concern, because I listened, and I heard.”
The amendments to the development plan include the following:
- The existing mature trees on Forest Lane can’t be removed.
- Patios, balconies and decks can only be on the ground level.
- Flat roofs are prohibited.
- The maximum number of stories above grade is two.
A recording of the Sept. 9 City Council discussion can be found here. Scroll down to and click Item Z3 on the meeting index.