Announcements, Q&A

Recap on Public Meeting

For those attending, thank you.  More than 120 neighbors and stakeholders signed-in to participate in the meeting hosted by Methodist Hospital and organized by the Oak Cliff Gateway Advisory Committee.

Download the presentation .  Learn more about how zoning the Gateway will take shape.  The proposal will include recommendations to designate zoning districts, address permitted land use, define urban form and building design standards and it will consider street and streetscape design sandards.

We received a good number of comments and questions.  Subscribe to this blog and receive notice on our responses.



7 thoughts on “Recap on Public Meeting

  1. Mr. Mendoza —

    If you are taking our commentary seriously, then I’m hopeful we’ll soon see a revised plan with our suggestions taken into consideration. Some of the main points are:

    * 2 story max height west of Zang.
    * Use the form-based zoning process, as adopted by the Dallas City Council.

    The plan’s “neighborhood transition” or “residential infill” ideas may be more appropriate for the west side of Zang.

    Mr. Maison —

    I hope your books are in order.

    Best regards,

    Michael Ferguson
    Vice President, Kidd Springs Neighborhood Association

    Posted by Michael Ferguson | July 19, 2011, 10:11 PM
  2. Mr. Ferguson,

    I can assure you that the money contributed by AIDS Services of Dallas (ASD) , to the Oak Cliff Gateway project, was from a predevelopment grant we received for just such a purpose. That grant cannot be used for the services we provide to our residents. You indicate that you don’t understand how a land use study could relate to our mission, but, in fact, it does. ASD has a vested interested in our neighborhood and, as anchors in what is the most blighted area in the study, it is our hope that this project will encourage investment and revitalization of our neighborhood in particular, and North Oak Cliff in general.

    Don Maison

    Posted by Don Maison | July 19, 2011, 4:01 PM
  3. Mr. Ferguson

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me and others reading this exchange. The detailed maps and Mr. Good’s presentation may leave you with the impression that our work is done but I assure you we are early in the process of recommending zoning changes for the Oak Cliff Gateway.

    Our neighborhoods – Kidd Springs, Lake Cliff and East Kessler – contain many voices. On behalf of the committee, I ask for your patience as we work through the task of listening to all voices, including those that may disagree with yours and my own. Your aversion to building heights exceeding 2 floors is noted. Your preference for form-based zoning rather than defining a planned development district is noted as well.

    The recent public meeting generated several pages of comments and questions. We are taking them seriously. Obtaining answers and drafting responses means scheduling briefings with professionals in the field and neighbors on the street. We seem to be a committed bunch but please keep in mind that we are a volunteer committee juggling professional lives, raising children and taking summer vacations.

    On the matter of Aids Services of Dallas: You should probably take your concern directly to the organization and its board of directors. I will direct your attention to the fact that Aids Services Dallas provides secure and comfortable living environments at several locations in the Lake Cliff Neighborhood. Aids Services Dallas has been a stakeholder and a neighbor for many years. In fact, I recall a few residents welcoming me to the area more than sixteen years ago.

    Posted by Michael A. Mendoza | July 18, 2011, 9:25 PM
  4. Oak Cliff Gateway Committee —

    I would also like to point out that ALL of the original Oak Cliff Gateway visioning exercises ( specify low-rise development for the west side of Zang Blvd. I have no idea how the comments saying “low rise 1 story”, “respect single family”, “similar to Lovers Lane / Tollroad” (all 1-2 story), “two story”, etc. turned into a plan with development max height of 146 ft. I can’t find anything in the vision exercise that suggests a height or density that is in the current plan. Most of us were at this meeting back in 2009; we know what we asked for, and the evidence is on the web. Please respect the voice of the community and align the plan with our vision.

    Best regards,

    Michael C. Ferguson
    Vice President, Kidd Springs Neighborhood Association

    Posted by Michael Ferguson | July 18, 2011, 12:48 PM
  5. Mr Mendoza —

    I would like to think that when the decisions were made to zone Jefferson, Wynnewood Village, etc. as retail, that the neighboring community was involved in the discussion. So far, the Kidd Springs neighborhood has not been invited to the table, and the zoning committee has not taken our input into consideration. In fact, there is not a single homeowner in Kidd Springs on the Oak Cliff Gateway committee.

    The voice of the neighborhood was very clear in the July 11 meeting — we do not want the density or zoning suggested in the study for the west side of Zang. There are no 3 story buildings in our neighborhood. We certainly do not want any 9 story buildings built in our neighborhood. Furthermore, this special development district zoning is only going to add to the headache of paperwork in city hall. If anything we would request that all zoning follow the form-based process as adopted by the city council.

    Please consider these comments seriously. We all want to see development and economic growth in Oak Cliff, but we would not have it at the expense of our single-family neighborhoods. The community should be more involved in this process. Our neighbors do not want high-density immediately adjacent to single-family development. You should respect these views and our opinions, or the process is only going to devolve at the expense of the growth we are all looking for.

    Best regards,

    Michael C. Ferguson
    Vice President, Kidd Springs Neighborhood Association

    P.S. I found on the list of donor organizations that “Aids Services of Dallas” is one of the largest donors. I cannot imagine how land-use studies are aligned with the mission of an AIDS services organization. I would strongly recommend that the Oak Cliff Gateway organization return the money given my AIDS Services of Dallas so it can go towards the purpose it was intended: helping people with HIV/AIDS.

    Posted by Michael Ferguson | July 17, 2011, 5:17 PM
  6. Ms. Villarreal,

    Thank you for the note – the opinions and sentiments. The story you shared offers a wonderful portrait of your family and their life experiences in Oak Cliff. For me, it is another example of how history is really about people and the places they create to share their talents, worship their creator and raise their families. Your story also does a good job of describing the unfortunate exodus of families and the subsequent economic and physical decline experienced in many American cities. Indeed, the list would include Dallas and specifically Oak Cliff. We are about the same age and it appears that our ancestors may have been in the same square watching the Lone Star flag raised for the first time. Like you, I was in grade school during the flight, yet I feel very lucky to have been raised in Dallas.

    I live on Lake Cliff Park. The park has seen its up and downs but it remains a very special and giving space in our community. Try to imagine how difficult it must have been to designate and set aside land for the parks we know as Lake Cliff and Kidd Springs. These are gifts we enjoy today from a generation that lived nearly a century earlier. You write fondly of Jefferson Boulevard and Wynnwood Village. Imagine the debates to establish these unique spaces. It is not likely that everyone was in agreement about clearing land for Wynnwood, or the survey that was to be paved as Jefferson. Like our parks, these are gifts from people that lived long ago. These spaces have served us well and they have certainly become part of our heritage. No doubt, reaching these decisions required compromise. And now it is our turn. Just as our community celebrates at Blessed Sacrament, no gift comes without a sacrifice.

    What gifts of space should we install and spark into animation? The advisory committee wants to engage you and others in identifying our contribution to future generations. It is difficult to know who these people might be but I am certain that it cannot be us. For Oak Cliff to thrive it will need to be more than our own. Oak Cliff has challenges. Our demographics reflect a younger, less educated and poorer resident. The types of retail and family services for which you pine are not sustainable without welcoming new neighbors. Where will they live? Can we do something to welcome people in different stages of life without pushing those of us already here to leave? These are big questions.

    I thank you for joining the conversation. Please stay involved to help us reach some good answers.


    Michael A. Mendoza

    Posted by Michael A. Mendoza | July 14, 2011, 9:44 AM
  7. Hello,

    This letter is in response to the Monday night July meeting @ Methodist Hospital – Hitt Auditorium.

    I say no, no, no to the proposed high density construction!

    I love Oak Cliff. I live here by choice! My home address is 714 N. Madison Ave., I have lived here pretty much all of my life – same house. I have attended all the area home schools – Hogg, Greiner, Adamson & MountainView. I have belonged to the same church – Blessed Sacrament on Marsalis Ave. My brother, sister & I have received all of our sacraments there, baptism, communion confirmation. My parents have renewed their vows there as well, 25 years ago and most recently (last year) for their 50th wedding anniversary.

    I love the fact that I have all, but a 5 minute commute to work – downtown! Fortunately, I have always worked this close to home.

    I have seen Oak Cliff thriving in it’s hey day! Downtown Jefferson had a Sears and a JC Penney. Imagine that, huh? It was safe to walk there and do some great shopping.
    We had the Texas Theater, a real popular hang out.

    Wynnewood Village had a Titches’ (later became a Montgomery Ward). Oh, the windows @ Christmas, Neimans’ had nothing on us! We also had another theater there, Jans’ Bakery (awesome cakes), a Hallmark store, and a Lubys’.

    It was a great place to live, quiet, safe….

    Then came the white flight, as these people moved away, they rented their properties, yet did not maintain them, the homes became rundown, – soon came the crime, they were the slumlords that lived in the suburbs, but had created a slum-like environment. They no longer cared for our community, but only came in to collect the rent….

    But, we never flinched, we never wavered. During this most difficult time, we saw some dark days. 911 had me & my sister on a 1st name basis! We never thought of leaving, we stood tough, we hung strong. Running was never an option – this was our home.

    I say no, no, no to high density, but yes to a positive retail environment – something for our immediate community, not for a select few, especially those who do not even live here!

    Build it – we will come! Bring us something of substance, no more restaurants, disguised as bars. I suppose by law they have to serve food, the 60/40… I see this only as another Lemmon/Greenville, we don’t want to become that. Not a restaurant row, either.

    The parking has become a nightmare, I am being hit hard now as it is, I can not fathom the monstrous buildings that are being proposed. No parking is available as we speak – Glorias’ is around the corner from me & now a new restaurant is being spoken of on the 600 block if Madison, oh my gosh…

    During peak times, I have seen people park in front of my home & walk out with their little red plastic cups, only to come back & refill with their beer or liquor.

    Traffic has become heavier & mixing it with the alcohol – honestly, I am surprised no one has gotten hurt. I am finding it very difficult to even get out of my house. The access to and out of Davis and Madison is increasingly a struggle.

    I say no, no, no to any more tattoo parlors, and wineries, I see one coming up on Davis. I have absolutely no problem in Oak Cliff being dry – it was for many years, we knew to drive across the levy was a way of life. No biggie…

    Bring us some 2 story buildings, that is something we could work with. Give us something great for our children, a ballet school, music center, drama theater, our kids need and want this desperately.

    We welcome a nice grocery store, cleaners, florist, etc. You know we in Oak Cliff own laptops, iphones, flat screens, we love our electronic gadgets too! I would love to buy my big ticket items here in my neighborhood, than venture out to spend my hard earned tax dollars elsewhere.

    I would be open to a new church coming up/in, new school, medical facility, something serving a positive, a necessity, close to home.

    Bishop Arts – are you kidding me? Where is the art? Where are the painters, sculptors, musicians, etc…. I don’t see much of that at all…. Only restaurants, bars….

    Help us to support you, we will if you make us proud. Give us something to embrace, including us all as diverse neighbors that we are, do not divide us, do not make this inclusive or exclusive to a particular group of people. Do the right thing by us, allow us to hang our heads up high and not bowed down in shame.

    Keep in mind we live here, this proposed chaos is literally in our own backyards. I feel quite sure you would feel disturbed if this was happening next to you. If it’s not, then you probably couldn’t possibly understand.

    Also, be mindful of the fact that Oak Cliff has long been treated as Dallas’ stepchild, worse yet – an orphan. Please don’t feel as though you doing us any favors, we have long been neglected and essentially abused.

    I say yes to structures conducive to what we now have, 2 story no more. grandfather this in.

    Remember the newness will wear off and the non Oak Cliff residents will find another playground. Build it for us and no one else. Look @ Deep Ellum, West End – dead properties.
    The Lake Cliff town homes appear to be a flop – parking.? Yet, construction is up around the corner, in these economic times surely we can do better.. .
    We will be left yet again, to pick up the pieces…

    Apologies for being long winded but I hope you understand the passion surrounding this outrageous idea of high density! We are Oak Cliff, keep the oak trees alive! Don’t kill us off and not to line someone elses’ pockets.

    This is our legacy, our children’s are inheriting these decisions, let’s do right by them. Their precious futures are in our hands, may we not regret our choices and have them resent us later….

    Thank you,

    Best Regards,

    Melinda A. Villareal
    43 year resident
    5th generation Texan
    Member Kidd Springs Neighborhood Association

    Posted by Melinda A. Villarreal | July 14, 2011, 9:42 AM

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