I got the word late Friday: the long-disputed Jose "Joe" May Elementary School, which the Dallas Independent School District had planned to build on Webb Chapel between Royal and Walnut Hill as part of its 2008 bond program, is dead. Far as the neighbors are concerned, it's an early Christmas miracle: As you may recall back in March DISD trustee Edwin Flores and city council member Ann Margolin found themselves crossways over the campus, with Flores going so far as to threaten a lawsuit if the City Plan Commission didn't sign off.
Problem is: Residents, who've been meeting regularly with Margolin, don't like its location (a dangerous curve on Webb Chapel formerly occupied by a church) and the fact the DISD bought and razed two brand-new, never-lived-in homes in the neighborhood with the intention of directing traffic through small, quiet streets. Flores had maintained the school was needed to take pressure off David G. Burnet and Tom W. Field elementary schools, and as recently as Thursday morning the district had hoped to get the 890-capacity school in front of the CPC early next year in the hopes of having the campus open by, best-case scenario, 2013.
But at 3:32 p.m. Thursday, Karl Crawley, president of Masterplan Consultants, sent an email to senior city planner Jennifer Hiromoto that said, simply: "Please let this email serve as the official request from the DISD to withdraw zoning case Z112-132 for the Jose May Elementary School. I will follow this up shortly with a formal request for a refund of the fee." Late Friday I asked DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander about the withdrawal; he said he didn't know anything about it. District offices are now closed for the holiday.
When I followed up with Crawley this morning about what the district plans to do with the property, and whether it will refile in the future, this was the entirety of his comment on the matter: "All I can say is we've withdrawn the zoning case."