Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Signs of Opposition to Development at US75 and PGBT

Fresh off their victory (?) over the rebuilding and expansion of the Lookout Drive trash transfer station, the Neighborhood Protection Alliance of Richardson (NPAR) has focused its attention on the planned development for the open land southeast of the US 75 and the President George Bush Tollway (PGBT). In an email blast (I can't find it on the group's website to link to), NPAR Chair Maitri Smithhisler rallied the neighbors to attend a City Planning Commission meeting Tuesday Dec 7th, at 7PM at City Hall, at which it will be considering the Parliament planned development for the open land.

Now, I'm all in favor of grassroots involvement in civic matters such as this, even if I fear that a reflexive NIMBY attitude is likely to prevail. Smithhisler's email suggests that risk is real in this case, although I'm encouraged by the appearance of an open mind: "Please note: while the significant traffic increase, the massive apartment presence and the form-based code pose great concern, there are many aspects to this development that preliminarily look positive."

Hey, it's the corner of an 8-lane freeway and an 8-lane tollway, with a DART station in the middle and another rail line, the Cotton Belt, on the drawing boards. If that's not tailor-made for high-density development - offices, apartments, retail -- what is? The increased tax base will help pay for those parks and rec centers and trails that everyone else in Richardson likes so much. This kind of development should come as a surprise only to the most clueless home buyers for about the last 20 years. And form-based code is a plus. It's what enables mixed-use and reduces the need for people to use cars to get from a neighborhood zoned residential to a neighborhood zoned commercial. If you want to free Richardson from its shackles to the automobile, support form-based zoning.

So, let's hope that Smithhisler's open mind is genuine and that she can persuade other homeowners to keep an open mind, too.

P.S. My earlier post with comments on the subject, comparing it to another development in downtown Dallas, can be read here.

No comments: