The Garland Road Vision Committee (GRV) has released a letter to the City Plan Commission in support of The Trailhead, the proposed mixed use project at the Gaston-Garland-Grand (3G) intersection. Developer Mill Creek Residential  has requested a rezone  of the 3.88 acre site formerly occupied by The Lot and Local Traveler to a Planned Development District (PD) for a 305-unit apartment project and 13,500 square feet of commercial space.

The City Plan Commission meets Thursday (April 22) to consider Mill Creek’s proposal. Gerald Worrall, interim chairman of GRV, will speak at the Plan Commission public hearing in support of the project.

The origin of the GRV dates back to 2006, when then District 9 Council Member Gary Griffith formed an Advisory Committee of stakeholders interested in improving Garland Road from I-635 to the 3G intersection. The Advisory Committee raised $150,000 for a consultant’s study led by architectural and planning firm HOK. The study was prepared by the Advisory Committee and the consultants, and it was adopted by the City of Dallas February 9, 2011.

A Task Force was specifically created by the GRV to review The Trailhead in the context of the approved GRV vision. In addition to Worrall, Task Force members included recognized names in East Dallas: Gary Griffith, Mary Poss, Gloria Tarpley and Patrick Blaydes all contributed. The Task Force identified several areas of initial agreement with the proposal, including a mixed-use, high-density development at a major gateway, reduced number of access points to the property, encouragement of trail use and the opportunity for continuous sidewalks and buried utility lines.

There were issues in Mill Creek’s initial proposal that met with GRV concern but were adequately addressed for GRV in subsequent changes to the plan. GRV asked and received language in the PD for regulated exterior lighting, the exclusion of any business with drive-through service, the requirement of a Special Use Permit for any bar uses and a prohibition on late-hour operations.

Height and traffic have been at the center of neighborhood opposition. Worrall stated that although not eliminated, the visual impact of the building height will be limited because of the topography of the site. After reviewing the traffic study prepared by the developer and reviewed by the City, Worrall said the GRV feels “comfortable with the City analysis that the traffic impact is not beyond the capacity for this intersection to handle.”

The Plan Commission briefing begins at 10 a.m. The public hearing commences at 1:30 p.m. Information about how to view the proceedings is here.

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