For as long as anyone can recall -- at least six years, right? -- there's been an attempt to create a Stevens Park Conservation District intended to preserve the neighborhood around the Oak Cliff golf course. Most of the homeowners in the area are behind it; so too Oak Cliff preservationists who fear the razing of historic homes that would be replaced by McMansions. And getting neighbors on the same side of conservation districts is no easy thing; ask the folks living in the Disney Streets, for starters.
But at the last minute, residents of a single street -- N. Plymouth Road, which faces Stevens Park Golf Course -- turned in a petition to the city council insisting they wanted no part of the conservation district. Chris Gober, a Plymouth Road resident, told the council moments ago that "a one-size-fits-all conservation district may just be going too far." Others living on the same stretch of concrete agreed.
At which point Scott Griggs stepped to the public speakers' podium to ask the council to postpone the vote. "I am a big believer in conservation districts," said Griggs, "and I think these two sides can work it out and that a sub-district on Plymouth is the right way to go."
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Delia Jasso then spoke up. She said, "What we've heard today is everyone's in favor of a conservation district. We're not here to say you're not gonna get it." But she agreed with Griggs and made a motion for the council to defer the vote till August 24. The council said fine, sure, let's move on, we've still got a lot of work to do before summer break.
But Dave Neumann, whose place at the horseshoe Griggs will take on Monday, had something to say first. Neumann said, look, he was going to suggest postponing the vote. But he wasn't entirely happy about doing it.
Said the outgoing council member, an overwhelming number of residents in Stevens Park are for the conservation district: "Seventy-six percent said yes, 24 percent said no," he said. "That's a statement."
Neumann said he wasn't pleased when, at the last minute, Plymouth Road residents upended this "multi-year effort" with their against-it petition. But, fine, he said, postpone it -- "with the caveat we have the votes in," meaning, in favor of the district. He then spoke more or less directly to Griggs, saying that this time out "gives you the opportunity to work with the neighbors and achieve something that will work on both sides. When you sit on this side of the podium, you see neighbors on the exact opposite sides of the audotorium. A conservation district is about bringing neighbors to the middle."