HPPC Parking-Lot Gazebo Could Get Scrapped

Details are incoming, here, but I thought I’d circle back to the parking lot/parking plaza issue at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, in anticipation of its Aug. 10 review. Seems University Park city staff isn’t too keen on the notion of a gazebo — as proposed for said lot — that would face the church and feed in to a bricked walkway.

The reason? It’d be covering something important: a sewer line.

“Sewer lines and water mains tend to break at 3 a.m. when it’s pouring down rain,” said community development director Robbie Corder. “You don’t want a structure like a gazebo in the way when city’s going to tear it down anyway.”  Then would come hemming and hawing, perhaps, about who owes what to whom.

In any case, Corder said, revisions are a typical part of the planning/zoning process.

Stay tuned.

6 thoughts on “HPPC Parking-Lot Gazebo Could Get Scrapped

  • June 29, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Per another conversation today with Corder, I should add that HPPC has myriad alternatives to skirt the issue above. And again — revisions are standard, standard, standard.

  • July 3, 2010 at 10:56 am

    That gazebo isn’t the only thing on those pretty plans that isn’t going to happen. The plans aren’t based on any sort of realities–code adherence and financial ones, to begin with. The church, as of a couple weeks ago, did not have the money for this project and sent out a letter asking members for donations. I suspect that even if they do get enough money for the asphalt aspects of the plan, there will still not be enough to pay for all the expensive greenery, including the many mature trees, which are the smoke and mirrors that make their drawings look attractive.

    One harsh reality is the other parking lot that the Reverend Ron Scates helped install at his church in Baltimore. Despite the uproar from that neighborhood (sound familiar?) his church successfully took over park land and poured themselves a giant slab of asphalt with very minimal greenery. You can use Google Maps, satellite mode, to see for yourself. (7308 York St., Baltimore.) Scate’s lot is the one most Northwest. I fear that this is what we could end up with, after all the “revisions.”

    The parking lot is only a Trojan Horse. It is the church’s tool to get the entire block of homes re-zoned for future tear-down, so that they can expand the campus and build whatever they want on it in the future. If the re-zoning is granted, it is the beginning of the end of that lovely block of 10 old homes, some of them deemed “historical.”

  • July 6, 2010 at 10:57 am

    A post by bob’s Mom from the blog DallasDirt:

    “bob’s mom @ June 27th, 2010 at 7:08 am

    James Tucker: Historically, in University Park, the “discrimination” you speak about has been against homeowners and taxpayers seeking to protect their neighborhoods against expansion by churches. The past U.P. city council members have let churches have a free reign in usurping residential property, using, in a most terrible and idiotic way, the Freedom of Religion argument.

    To call people who want to protect the integrity of their homes, neighborhoods and property value “church-haters” is intentional incendiarism. This speaks volumes, and one thing I’d bet is that you don’t live next to, across from, or anywhere near any of the churches mentioned. I’ll bet your home isn’t directly threatened by them.

    Hundreds of UP residents have stated that we don’t want an entire block of homes (10–one dating to 1923), in the heart of, and on the flagship boulevard of our city, re-zoned for tear-down and further future expansion of Highland Park Presbyterian. It is not an unnecessary parking lot that we are fighting. It is the ruination of our neighborhood.”

    I just wanted to post this since you appear to be blogging about this subject on a couple of blogs. If people want to see the rest of the thread it is here.


    You and I are developing some history and I want people to understand why I am writing in this manner.

    It is time for you to stop blogging under an assumed name. If you are going to accuse people of hidden agendas and or disregard for their community it is time to let yourself be known. You want to be a community activist? Community activists use there real name and become Citizen of the Year like Max.

    In the post captioned above you accuse me of using “intentional incendiarism” and you provide a quote that does not appear in my post. I never used the word “church-hater”. There is a difference between being anti-church and being a church hater. I am sure everyone in the neighborhood of Hillcrest Church or HPPC love the church they attend. But they hate HPPC or Hillcrest for what they are doing. Are any of the neighbors to HPPC church-goers? Are they members of St. Michael’s, Park Cities Baptist, UPUMC or the Church of Christ? All these churches have had major changes to their original campuses over the last few years. Most of those changes have involved the destruction of some kind of housing. I don’t recall you being so vocal when St. Michael’s wiped out an entire apartment community for a parking lot. Of course you may have been using your real name and we didn’t notice. Incidentally, St. Michael’s built the lot last year. They are just now landscaping it. A bit of gap, but I bet it fit their budget.

    As far as incendiary language is concerned, you must really mean facts. Some people, when faced with facts, have no other recourse but to call the presentation of those facts “incendiary” or some other verb. My arguments only called into question the statements that Candace Evans attributed to certain people. The councilwoman for her straw-man argument regarding traffic, Commissioner Bernbaum for his singling out the absence of the name “Coram Deo” from the school application, and the neighborhood association for their lack of candor in regards to HIllcrest’s attempts to work with them.

    I view this post as another attempt to create a straw-man argument. You create a boogyman by accusing Scates and HPPC of having a hidden agenda, a Trojan Horse. You say they don’t have the money to complete their vision of parking. But you turn around and say that they really want to change zoning so they tear down all the houses and build a bigger campus. If they don’t have the money to build a parking lot where is the money going to come from to build a bigger campus?

    When you buy a home there is due diligence that needs to be done. One of the parts of this diligence if you buy a home around a church is to find out what their plans are. If you bought a home around HPPC and didn’t know they owned several properties that is a failure on your part. If you have owned your home for decades, did it not occur to you that if the church was buying property around your home that it would be for some other purpose besides housing? I’m not sure that you could have done anything to stop the large number of acquisitions by HPPC that were occurring. Maybe there was.

    I suspect that most people living around HPPC have considered HPPC a good neighbor and a plus to their home values. They now view the parking lot as detrimental to those values. Why don’t you, instead of accusing people of hidden agendas and creating straw-men just come out and say that. HPPC PARKING PLANS ARE GOING TO COST ME MONEY! See, that’s not so hard. Now face the fact that if they want it they will get most of it. When you come to terms with that you can sit down with HPPC and get the best deal possible to minimize the effects on your property values.

    The real problem is that activist courts over the years have supplanted the simple meaning of freedom of religion to be a separation of church and state. This more complicated concept has caused the unintended consequence of churches being able to tell the state “hands off” and the state telling the church “stay away from our public institutions”. Our legislatures then have to pass laws that try to balance the rights of the state to regulate various aspects of the business of “church”. We see that at work now. The state has little control over how churches use their property. Churches, realizing their standing in the community, work with local governments on zoning and use issues. But when push comes to shove, a church has rights established in the current interpretation of the Constitution and granted to it by various legislatures. Hillcrest will almost certainly turn to the courts because there is more animosity by the neighborhood and Dallas City hall at work in that case then common sense and the law. HPPC won’t have to because the UP city government understands their role. Their role isn’t to rubberstamp, but to bring people together to find common ground for the fair use of church property.

  • July 6, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    James Tucker: I STAND CORRECTED.

    What you said was “these anti-church people.” What I took away in my own misguided mind (this is what a year of fighting the “neighborhood church” for the integrity of the neighborhood, and a LOT of missed sleep agonizing about their unChristian-like methods will do to you!), was “church-haters.” I guess by the time I got through your 1000 word essay, in which you so kindly set everyone straight once and for all, I had forgotten your exact wording. Please forgive my complete and utter sloppiness.

    The reason I do not put forth my own, real name is that I have noticed that a small percentage of “these pro-church people,” are also, uh…goofballs or knuckleheads. They might do things like stalk people from one blog to another. People like that, in my opinion, really need a hobby or two. I like to create craft projects and bake pies, but as you are most probably male (I have known females named Darren and Michael, so forgive the presumption here), you might like building model airplanes or flying kites. These activities are calming and give you a sense of pride in yourself. Bird-watching is another good one. Those little flying beauties will amaze and inspire you to no end!

    Thanks again for straightening me out. Lord knows I need it sometimes!!!

  • July 7, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Your sarcasm posing as supposed self-deprecating humor is not lost on me. I haven’t straightened you out because your position and your attitude have been formed, as you say, for a year. I figure your one of these people who, when faced with the thought you aren’t going to get your way, lashes out without regard to facts. Your probably blogging anywhere that Google pulls up a link about HPPC, spreading rumors and mis-information as you go. My opinion would be that your comments are closer to the “intentional incendiarism” you accused me of then anything I wrote. I was drawn to the article in the Dallas Dirt because it was about Hillcrest Church. It had a single line about HPPC. My comment in that article was about Hillcrest Church. But you felt compelled to throw a comment in there about HPPC. At the same time you insult me and then, when faced with exposure about your insult, you pop off again. Spare me the sarcastic advice.

  • July 7, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    James Tucker: We are both obviously beyond being “straightened out” by the other. We are clearly miles apart in our views and will have to agree to disagree.

    Everything I have posted I believe to be the truth. As I am sure, do you. So we have that in common. I know that Hillcrest Church was your main concern, or area of expertise, but there are many hundreds of us right now, fighting the HPPC re-zoning battle. Many are HPPC church members. And in the end, it is the same issue: Churches expanding their campuses at the expense of the neighborhoods they exist in.

    My opinion is that someone, or some body of persons, need to start saying “enough.” Churches, please go back to doing good deeds and spending your millions helping people instead of taking over residential land. Please remember that little rule about loving your neighbors. Aggression against homes and neighborhoods will not gain you more converts–quite the contrary, which, I thought was the whole point of Christianity.

    This was my final response to you, James Tucker. Have a good day!


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