Once or twice a week for the past couple of months, an e-mail will pop up in the in-box about a proposal to put a gas station and convenience store in the Lowe's parking lot on Inwood Road just off of Forest Lane. It's no small development, either: According to city docs, the complex will eat up 4,000 square feet in the parking lot -- it's big enough to devour more than 100 parking spaces, matter of fact. But looooong story short: Neighbors don't want it.
Or, in the words of council member Ann Margolin, "The neighborhood is clearly very much against it." Which means: She is too, even if city staff isn't.
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There are myriad reasons for the opposition, each one spelled out in Thursday's City Plan Commission's agenda, when the home-repair megacenter's application to amend the Planned Development District will go before the commission. Here's how city staff explains it:
Staff has had numerous conversations with adjacent homeowners who have a concern related to the impact of this type of use in close proximity to their homes as well as the private school across Inwood Road. Lastly, concerns over cut-through traffic and potential crime issues weigh on their minds. While not determining it as a set of conditions for the use, staff has made numerous suggestions to the applicant's representative to work with the community in addressing the following; 1) days/hours of operation of the use; 2) sale of beer/wine (must be addressed through private agreement); 3) on-site security during certain hours of operation; and 4) relocation of the dumpster enclosure noted on the development plan. At the time of completion of this material, staff has not received any closure on any of these items.
That private school, of course, is Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas. Nevertheless, city staff's recommending the plan commission approve the application, which Lowe's is filing in order to rent out the space to an outside operator. Which is why, from the looks of my in-box, folks who live in the neighborhood are planning to descend upon City Hall next week. And Margolin says she's "inclined to side with the neighbors," despite the fact there's already a Texaco and C Store at the intersection.
"It's not 100 percent in opposition," says Margolin, who has met with residents for months about this issue. "I've heard from people who don't think it's a big deal. But overall there's great opposition, and they've come up with solid reasons for why this is a bad idea. For one, it would alter the traffic patterns in that area, so that's an issue. And I think it's kind of an eyesore in the neighborhood. They see it as a residential neighborhood and fear it will diminish property values because it has the look of something not consistent with the neighborhood. This is not insignificant."