Despite impassioned pleas from the opposition, the Dallas City Council unanimously approved a compromised version of the Open Realty development on Henderson Ave near the intersections with McMillan and Glencoe.
Council member Adam Medrano, who represents the district where the development sits, talked about how he has friends on both sides of the issue, but he said he felt comfortable moving forward with the current plan. He noted that he received more emails in favor of the plan than he did from those who are opposed. He also said he represents everyone in his district.
The vote has been delayed several times since December, when Open Realty Advisors was met with opposition from East Dallas neighbors. But the company had the approval of those within the 500-foot notification area. City staff members say that out of the 214 notices sent to close neighbors, the city received 106 in favor and 22 opposed.
The City Plan Commission approved a plan that originally included 190,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space. The latest compromise includes a 156,500-square-foot plan, about an 18 percent reduction in size. The parking originally included 822 spaces with 754 in an underground garage; the latest plan features 50 surface spaces and 525 in the underground garage. This is a 30 percent reduction in parking.
Neighbors created a “Henderson Fiction” website, decrying the development’s impact on traffic in the neighborhood. The website asks neighbors to “look just a little closer, you’ll see that Henderson Avenue cannot support the extra 5,500+ cars/day that this site will generate, resulting in thousands of cars cutting through the heart of our neighborhood on McMillian, Glencoe, and Homer. You’ll also see an extremely unsafe environment for pedestrians because 100 percent of these extra cars must cross the sidewalk to enter and exit the proposed development.”
At the council meeting, neighbors on both sides of the issues made impassioned pleas. Neighbor Bruce Richardson said he felt “abject terror” at what the development could do to his neighborhood. Vickery Place resident Rick Bentley said this plan would be “obliterating this well planned development along Henderson Avenue.” Fonya Mondell called into question the compromise, saying the residentially zoned land was not the developer’s to change in the first place. After the vote, hisses could be heard from the audience.
But other neighbors, including property owners adjacent to the property in question, noted that they looked forward to the new business in the empty lot. They also said they didn’t want more residential apartments and that the opposition was a vocal minority.
“I don’t want apartments in my back yard,” one neighbor said. “I want this beautiful plan.”
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