Southern Sector can Learn from University Park

I read an article this morning in the Dallas Morning News about University Park (link) regarding the fight against an unwanted land use and zoning change. It affects the main town square, Snider Plaza, which is a stone’s throw from SMU’s campus in the area of Hillcrest & Lovers Lane (map).

Now I’m sure you’re asking, what can a predominantly lower-income area learn from a rich well-to-do place like University Park, where the average income is over $90,000 and the average home sells for over $900,000?

The answer: they are vigilant about unwanted zoning changes, and take extra steps to protect the community. If the community doesn’t want the changes, IT AIN’T GETTIN’ DONE! (I can hear my professors at my alma mater Morehouse cringing at the last sentence)

“Under the proposed conditions, the developer would work with an advisory board of area residents, merchants and commercial owners and hold at least one town hall meeting before a detailed site plan is considered. The company would also have to include the library in the site plan and submit documents confirming that the library could use the space as long as it wants”

“Opponents have repeatedly rallied against including multifamily in the development, calling the idea non-negotiable.

In the most controversial projects, developers are made to have a townhall meeting before it goes to UP’s Planning & Zoning Commission. I know that some Dallas builders north of I-30 are proactive when it comes to controversial projects. On the south side, shady developers depend on low community interest to get poorly planned projects through the system. Developers in the Southern Sector should be made to do the same.

Often times, I get calls about these projects once they’re already getting built. By then, it’s usually too late to act. Citizens must get involved, but the City must protect its residents as well.

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