The Dallas Morning News Editorial
We can't wall off parts of the city from change.
A look at the brick structure known as the Pink Wall, which used to be the sign of status in Preston Hollow as homeowners near Preston Center, near the intersection of Preston Road and Northwest Highway in Dallas, battle high-rise expansion efforts that will affect parking, transportation and quality of life aspects in the area. (File Photo / Staff)
A struggle over the future of a crucial area of Preston Hollow is over, and the entire city should soon benefit because the right thing happened.
Development fights are hard. Good people on both sides have deep-seated feelings about the future of their neighborhood, the place where they have made their lives, raised their children or where they hope to grow old gracefully.
There is no setting aside the emotion that comes with major change in such a place, and we are respectful of those who opposed changing the zoning around the area known as the Pink Wall, at Northwest Highway near Preston Center. But it was important that a handful of opponents not be able to halt progress for the greater good of Dallas.
For those who don’t know this area, it’s important to understand that this is a place of high potential for the city’s future. It is central. It is affluent. It is along major corridors with easy access to highways. This is the sort of area that must and will become more dense, more walkable and more urban over time if Dallas is to continue to mature as a city.
The hope of many people who live in and around the 14.2-acre parcel at issue was that it wouldn’t change much. Or, if it did change, that the change would see the land less developed than it has been.
That would be nice for the people who live there. It would not have been fair, however, to property owners in the parcel who want to realize the fair market value of their assets. It would not have been fair to nearby property owners who might see greater value rise from increased density along Northwest Highway. And it would not have been fair to the city as a whole, a place where we need growth in order to build the tax base that will support a better future and help relieve the intense tax burden carried by single-family home owners.
The deal in Preston Hollow, approved through a unanimous vote of the City Council Wednesday will see greater density rise along Northwest Highway.
High-rises and mid-rises will likely take shape soon. Developers covet this land, as we might expect. Traffic will likely increase. That is an inevitable function of growth.
But we believe that smartly managed development that considers the need for green space, traffic-calming elements and pedestrian access will only make Dallas better.
All over the country, NIMBYism and zoning shenanigans have distorted housing markets, creating pockets of great wealth while people just trying to earn a living can barely find a place to live.
Dallas doesn't want to follow that path, and council member Jennifer Staubach Gates wisely led her constituents and her district away from that tempting but ultimately damaging path. And she did so at no small cost as she found herself attacked both personally and politically.
We expect that, after the changes come, many of those who found themselves opposed to the new zoning might come to see that their neighborhood not only isn’t worse off, it’s better off, and a richer place a number of ways.