Lennar's proposed design for a 294-apartment complex on Garland Road.

Lennar’s proposed design for a 294-apartment complex on Garland Road.

Dallas Cothrum, the representative for developer Lennar Multifamily Community, had defeat in his voice when he approached the microphone at Thursday’s Dallas Plan Commission meeting to discuss the proposed 294-unit apartment complex on Garland Road.

“We made every effort to come up with something reasonable and higher end,” he told commissioners, explaining that Lennar could not find common ground with the neighbors. “We just couldn’t quite get there. We’d like to have more time.”

Neighbors punctuated that point by sticking through a marathon meeting that didn’t consider the proposal until almost 7 p.m. Commenter after commenter had the same critique of the project: it’s too big and areas around the lake must be developed more thoughtfully.

“The land around White Rock Lake is sparse and precious,” Vail Fassett, co-president of the Little Forest Hills Neighborhood Association told the commission. “We as a community can’t be short-sighted in our plan.”

The land in question includes 9353 Garland Road, which currently houses White Rock Community Church, along with a medical office building at  9335 Garland Parkway.

Lennar’s proposal for the 4.33-acre property included buildings that rose from 45 feet at Garland Road, to 95 feet at the back of the property, and included a request for an additional 12-feet for support structures like communication towers and elevator penthouses. Despite neighbors’ concerns for traffic, city staff “determined that it will not impact the surrounding street system for the proposed development,” the report stated.

Michael Jung, Councilman Mark Clayton’s appointee to the Plan Commission, said he thinks apartments is an appropriate use for the property, but the density was simply too high. He pointed out that neighboring complexes have between 17-39 units-per-acre. Lennar, by comparison, asked for 68 apartments-per-acre.

“I suggested 40 units (per acre),” Jung told the crowd. “The developer said there’d be no way to make that work.”

Jung also said he had received 99 emails against the project compared to six in favor.

With that, the commission unanimously denied Lennar’s request without prejudice, but the developer may still appeal that decision to the City Council.

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