4
| News |

Sounds Like That Conservation District Fight in Northern Hills Really Divided Neighborhood

^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

I missed the name of the gentleman, clad in a dark suit and tie (that's him at the top right of the screengrab), who, about an hour ago, pleaded with the Dallas City Council to vote against designating Northern Hills as a conservation district. The City Plan Commission OK'd the zoning change in September, after three years of back-and-forthing between city staff and the 61 property owners in the neighborhood nestled between Highland Park and the Knox-Henderson shopping district. But this gentleman, joined by other opponents who paraded to the podium, made his case by insisting that if the council passed the ordinance, it would render Dallas "a can't-do city" where City Hall tells homeowners, "You're not the best steward of your property."

Said one man in favor of the CD, "Our opponents have had two years to vent" their opposition, and compromises have been made. Because, see, all those in favor of the rezoning just want McMansions kept out of the 80-plus-year-old neighborhood. Said another 47-year resident of the neighborhood, "The fact there have been no [McMansions] built doesn't speak to the issue at all."

When it was the council members' turn to talk, it got bogged down in the finer points of conservation districts' restrictions; there was the suggestion that perhaps the mayor might want to put together a committee to figure out how restrictive the restrictions ought to be. Dave Neumann said he's confused by who's for and who's against it. He also wondered why, if 51 of the 61 properties in the district would be considered "nonconforming" if the CD passed, is city staff for it? (Director of development services, Teresa O'Donnell, said she'd never seen that number before -- and, besides, they'd be grandfathered anyway, "but it's something we need to look at.")

Ron Natinsky noted that the problem with these kind of fights is that they "pit neighbor against neighbor, and y'all still have to live with each other, have Christmas parties together."

This conversation's been going on for more than an hour. I'd recommend watching City Hall inaction ... pardon, in action. Poor Jim. He's in chambers today for other reasons. Hope he brought dinner.

"I don't know where to go on this," Neumann just told O'Donnell.

Wait till it's the Disney Streets' turn, whenever that is. I will update when the vote's taken. Tomorrow, maybe? Because Angela Hunt hasn't even spoken, and this is her district.

Update at 2:54 p.m.: Oh, wait. It just passed council with a slight modification. But the mayor said he's not fond of the process as it exists now and has asked economic development to come up with some kind of "mediation" for neighbors before conservation district votes come before council.

Up now: Simon David! Tune in. Now. Joyce Lockley of the North Park Love Field neighborhood group just used the phrase "scare tactics." Oh, Jim?

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.