At a meeting that extended into Thursday evening, the Dallas City Plan Commission voted 9-4 to deny the rezone request by Mill Creek Residential to build The Trailhead, a mixed-use development proposed for the former site of The Lot and Local Traveler.
After three hours of presentations, citizen comments from both sides and questions from Plan Commission members, District 9 Commissioner Michael Jung made a motion to deny the developer’s request.
Tradition allows the Plan Commission member where the real estate is located to make the motion for the balance of the Commission to consider. The 3.88-acre site at the intersection of Gaston-Garland-Grand is located in District 2, but Plan Commissioner Joanna Hampton opted to recuse herself from the meeting due to a conflict. No specifics of the conflict were shared and duties for making the motion fell to District 9 Commissioner Michael Jung. Jung’s move to deny was in spite of City staff’s recommendation for approval subject to certain conditions.
After his motion to deny, with a second from District 14 Commissioner Wayne Garcia, Jung spoke for 14 minutes without interruption about how he “hoped he could have found a way to support it” and “regretfully moved to deny”.
He touched on four specific points:
- Visual intrusion — how the height of the project could be seen from different vantage points around White Rock Lake.
- Traffic circulation — especially the left turn from the site across three lanes of traffic when heading south on Grand.
- Density — Jung said he supports mixed use but can’t support the scale.
- Public Opinion — Jung said his inbox had more nays than yeas. He told the applicant it “had to win the hearts and minds of the people in the area and for whatever reason, that didn’t happen.”
Four members of the Commission voted against the motion, District 10 does not have Plan Commission member, and Commissioner Hampton recused herself. Eight Commissioners agreed with Jung for the final tally of 9-4 to deny. In some consolation to the developer, Jung’s motion was “without prejudice”, meaning Mill Creek can come back to the Plan Commission at any time. If the motion was to deny “with prejudice”, no request of the Plan Commission could be made on this real estate for two years, unless the Plan Commission waived the two year requirement.
According to Nabila Nur of the Department of Sustainable Development, the developer will need to file an appeal within the next 10 days if Mill Creek wants to move forward to City Council without the Plan Commission’s favorable recommendation.
If Mill Creek chooses to move forward, the case could be placed on the Council agenda as soon as June 9. If Mill Creek does not appeal within the specified time frame, the case will no longer be under consideration by the City.
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