The Dallas City Council voted to approve a seven-story apartment complex on Cole Avenue, after nearly a year of deliberation on whether or not it was best for the neighborhood.
A quick recap: Dallas city staffers recommended denial of the plans, but the City Plan Commission voted to recommend approval earlier this year.
Cut to today, with a number of speakers voicing their concerns on both sides of the argument.
“Our neighborhood exists because the buildings are not exorbitantly tall,” SMU professor and Abbott Avenue resident Alexis McCrossen said.
Height was just one of the concerns expressed by nearby residents. Others included decreasing property values and increasing traffic near Abbott Park.
Mayor Joel Williams, town attorney Matthew Boyle, and outside counsel Michael Young were in attendance to speak on behalf of Highland Park.
“We ask for a 3-to-1 residential proximity slope to be accommodated,” Williams said. “That’s been our position from day one.”
On the other side of the argument, many supporters of the development — such as Leon Backes, president of project head Provident Realty Advisors — wore green stickers that read “Support Saltillo.”
Phil Kingston, the Dallas city councilman representing the Katy Trail area, acted as liaison for Highland Park to the Dallas City Council. He tracked the development through many fluctuations, such as adjusting the building plans to create a stair-step, gradual climb to the maximum height of 82 feet.
The motion he presented, in favor of the development, came with a number of stipulations and amendments, such as items allowed within the setback area. However, it did not include the 3-to-1 residential proximity slope as requested by Highland Park officials.
“I hope my behavior has led [residents of Highland Park] to believe they will be heard,” Kingston said.
Council members Sandy Greyson, Adam Medrano, and Jennifer Gates cast the only dissenting votes, and the motion passed.
As for Highland Park, some felt that not enough communication was carried out among the parties — and residents — involved to fully flesh out a compromise.
“In 2005, [Kingston’s predecessor] Angela Hunt held a number of meetings with residents [regarding area developments],” Williams said. “None of that was done.”