American Idyll: In Southern Dallas, a Small Battle Between Peace and Progress

The item on today's City Plan Commission agenda reads as dry as stale Melba toast: "An application to create 7 lots from 259.199 acres located in several tracts of land in City Blocks 8298, 8299, 8300, 8303, 8304 and 8305, on Telephone Road, east of Dallas Avenue." The applicant is Ridge Property Trust, a Chicago-based company with Irving offices that specializes "in 'state of the art' warehouse, distribution and manufacturing facilities," per its Web site. And as this map shows, well, there ain't much out in that part of town except countryside -- it's literally where the streets have no name.

But as KTVT-Channel 11's Jay Gormley revealed last night, there's at least one person in town who gives quite the damn about Ridge Property Trust's application: Jim Dodd, for whom that bit of nowhere, out on a road that's 160 years old, is home -- has been since forever ago. Dodd's not trying to stand in the way of all those trucks soon to come barreling through his peaceful nowheres; he's no troublemaker, far from it. And, yes, his family -- and his donkey and his goose -- will get a wide new road, all right, but it's one that will first and foremost accommodate the onslaught of machines, and it will sit but 60 yards from the front door of the family's 100-year-old house. All Dodd's asking for: an extra 130 feet of breathing room.

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