Monday, January 10, 2011

Richardson to Dentist: This Won't Hurt a Bit

Over a year ago, the presidents of three homeowners' associations in southwest Richardson lobbied the city to stop "half-hearted" development. What is half-hearted development? The answer was kind of fuzzy, but presumably converting old fast food restaurants into doctors' offices is considered to be half-hearted redevelopment. And it's clearly not wanted.

What I said about this topic when it came up in November, 2009, can be read here. After the jump, what's new.

This week, the first victim of this anti-renovation attitude has been identified. In a letter to homeowners, Andrew Laska, President of Richardson Heights Neighborhood Association, rallies homeowners to oppose a request by a property owner at 722 W. Spring Valley Rd to turn a former Whataburger into a dentist's office. Apparently, a dentist's office does not conform to the neighborhood's idealistic vision of an urban village filled with retail, restaurants, lakes and parks.

I'm as much in favor of redevelopment of the West Spring Valley Rd corridor as the next person, but not at the expense of holding private property hostage. I have to side with the dentist on this one. The homeowners' original petition to the city for a redevelopment moratorium came in November, 2009. No white knight has been revealed to be on the horizon, despite a year's worth of pretty Powerpoint slide presentations of nice developments elsewhere. If the city or the neighbors want an urban village, then either buy the property or line up a private developer to buy the property. Using a redevelopment moratorium to lock up property while the city hopes for an alternative to appear is unjustified.

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