Monday, April 14, 2014

Bait and Switch in Southwest Richardson

The bait was appealing when dangled in front of stakeholders in southwest Richardson four years ago when community meetings were held on redevelopment of the West Spring Valley Corridor:

Catalyst 2
The future vision for this collection of properties includes a new mixed-use environment on the full block. Building faces could be established on James Drive, Floyd Road and US 75, giving the development a distinct, unified architectural character on all visible frontages. The land use mix of the new development could include ground floor retail and office with residential uses above.

That was the bait. After the jump, the switch.

After a suitably long enough delay for memories of those community meetings to fade, what was ultimately planned for that collection of properties? Why, a row of pad restaurants, just like you find along any stretch of US 75 from Plano to Oklahoma. Except farther north, there aren't residential neighborhoods butting up against those pad restaurants.

The City Plan Commission released the plans in a staff report on the request that the City Plan Commission will take up soon. Spoiler alert: we're not talking minor changes to the zoning code here. Changes are so major that city staff recommended ditching the existing planned development zoning and drawing up a new planned development code altogether, one tailored for... you know, pad restaurants. The city understands that a row of pad restaurants is not a neighborhood amenity. That's why the request includes screening walls up to sixteen feet high to hide the restaurants from the neighbors. Or is it the other way around? One thing this isn't is mixed-use design where restaurants and residences are integrated in ways that enhance both. Like what the neighbors asked for and the city zoned for.

So much for those long-ago community meetings. So much for any expectation of mixed-use development between the freeway and the single family homes in the Richardson Heights neighborhood.

Bait and switch accomplished. Freeway 1, Neighborhood 0.


Mark Steger said...

The neighborhood association doesn't like the plan. No surprise there. That's the common reaction to bait and switch.

Bob said...

That is so weak. Weak and easy. Put some steam-pack crap eateries in there, sell some alcohol, etc, etc. Bring back the hotel.

Bob said...

On the other hand, it could be worse. A pawn shop, massage place, vapor store.

Mark Steger said...

The City Plan Commission denied the rezoning request 7-0 April 15.

glbeach said...

So what is happening in Richardson? I note there are a number of streets that have needed work FOR MONTHS!! It seems like there is a lot being given to developers (a lot meaning lots of tax incentives) without much being gained in return.

Is our new Mayoral election system simply allowing Richardson to become the community equivalent of an oligarchy? Is our Mayor, Laura Makza a puppet of developers? Or am I simply misreading the tea leaves?

Sassy Texan said...

Maybe reading Laura's campaign finance report of the last election would give you some insight.