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Compliments of
John W. Pritchett
  
Last updated
August 22, 2018

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Preston Road and Northwest Highway Area Plan
 
This page contains materials associated with the 2015-16 Preston Road and Northwest Highway Area Plan related specifically to Zone 4 containing PHSNA. The official description of the project is as follows:
 
”The purpose of this study is to develop a Preston Center and Northwest Highway Area Plan that will examine existing conditions and future needs and improvements within the area. The approach will be an integration of the following: transportation operational improvements, land use intensity and mix, and context sensitive design. The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) is partnering with the City of Dallas on this effort. Kimley-Horn is the primary consultant performing work.”
 
“An Advisory Task Force (ATF) has been formed from representatives of various neighborhoods interested within the study area. The ATF will provide input to the project scope of work, help coordinate and guide consultant tasks, and review deliverables. Please feel free to contact your zone representative for additional information.”
 
Each zone has one or more representatives to the ATF . Steve Dawson and Patti Niles represent Zone 4.
 
As indicated in this diagram, PHSNA marked in dark blue is the western portion of Zone 4. For questions regarding information on this page, contact John Pritchett.
 
 

The remainder of this web page is arranged chronologically. Only materials related to the residential components of Zone 4 and PHSNA have been included. All material is available at the website of North Central Texas Council of Governments .
 


October 30, 2914 - Community Meeting
This was a meeting to “introduce the approach, process and boundary for an area plan and to lay out how a stakeholder task force will be established to guide the process.”  Nothing PHSNA specific.

March 2, 2015 - Task Force Launch Meeting
Agenda .

Task Force membership is announced and bios published, including for Steve and Patti .
 
At this point city staff have been assigned to the project as well staff of the North Central Texas Council of Governments which is providing much of the funding for the study. No consultant has been hired. Contributions to fund the project were being sought.
 

April 27, 2015 - Advisory Task Force Meeting
Agenda .
 
This meeting covered sundry items not directly related to PHSNA, such as an update on the Northwest Highway improvement project and two items related to Preston Center.

July 28, 2015 - Advisory Task Force Meeting
Agenda .
  
Mark Bowers of Kimley Horn, the lead consulting firm, made a presentation covering the consultant team, visioning process, and project scope .
  
Set up around the room were flip charts asking the Task Force members to identify:
  
1] What problems / concerns / issues do you believe to be critical to address in developing a vision and implementation strategies for the Northwest Highway / Preston Road study area? 
2] What preliminary ideas / solutions do you have related to the future vision of the area? 
3] How would you define a successful vision / plan for the area?
 
However, the Task Force Members disregard the flip charts and continued to converse on tangential issues.

October 7, 2015 - Stakeholder Interviews - Zones 4, 6, 7
According to the NCTCOG website, “A series of interviews are being held in the September - October time frame. The consultant team will be meeting with various public and private sector groups. Anyone located within a specific zone should contact their zone representatives or NCTCOG for additional information.” 
 
Indeed, on October 7, 38 residents of Zone 4 and 14 residents of Zones 6 & 7 attended a workshop at the Walnut Hill Recreation Center. Flip charts were arranged about the room headed with various topics related to traffic, Preston Center, etc. Attendees were encouraged to add suggestions to the charts.

October 19, 2015 - Advisory Task Force Meeting
Agenda .
 
The consultants delivered a 70-page presentation . From their interviews of October 7, they derived the following for Zone 4 (p. 10).
 
  • Desire for strategies for protecting existing stakeholders and neighborhoods
  • Desire for a plan for reinvestment / redevelopment
  • Need for solutions related to increased and cut-through traffic on neighborhood
    streets
  • Desire for green space in the area
  • Desire for ability to walk / bike within the area and to adjacent zones
  • Desires for a bold and effective traffic plan and public transit improvements 
They did collect a tremendous amount of very impressive information, with most of the focus on Preston Center.

November 3, 2015 - Community Workshop
Agenda .
 
Materials were arranged about the room and staffed by consultants, city staff, and NCTCOG staff. The focus however was predominately on Preston Center with little if any on Zone 4. Sixty-six attended this well-organized event.

December 3, 2015 - Advisory Task Force Meeting
Agenda .
 
The results of the November 3 Community Workshop were revealed and Mark Bowers made a 54-page presentation . Feedback that could be considered PHSNA-related is as follows (pp. 16-22):
  • Higher residential density on north side of Northwest Highway east of Pickwick Ln
  • Put high rise along Northwest Highway from Pickwick to Douglas
  • If Transwestern is approved, close Averill and have entrance off of Bandera
  • Low rise multi-family on north side of NW Highway east of Preston 
  • Sidewalks along Preston and NW Highway 
  • Provide sidewalks in new development 
  • Provide pedestrian crossing at Edgemere and NW Highway, and between Del Norte and Averill, crossing Preston Rd
  • Need four-way stop at Bandera and Turtle Creek 
They also published the results of the on-line survey. Zone 4 had the largest number of participants with 151 residents replying. The following are the results of the survey by category indicating approximately how many believed that the vision should include in (). (p. 34)
  • Sidewalks (105)
  • Additional residential options (40)
  • Additional parks / open space (80)
  • Improving traffic conditions 7-10 am (141)
  • Improving traffic conditions 11-1 am (110)
  • Improving traffic conditions 5-7 am (141)
  • Better directional/information signage (35)
  • Additional pedestrian lighting (80)
The report concluded with the following: 
 
“Based upon feedback received in the Stakeholder and Zone Interviews, Advisory Task Force Meetings, Open House and Online Survey, the consultant team will outline potential alternative scenarios for discussion and further development with the Advisory Task Force.”

February 16, 2016  - Advisory Task Force Meeting
Agenda .
 
The consultants delivered a 20-page presentation on parking in Preston Center and a 20-page presentation on Existing Conditions in all zones . The latter devoted 2 pages to Zone 4 (pp. 18-19) including the following diagram:
 
From Consultant's Report Comments and Clarification
Majority of Zone 4 is MF-1, which has a density cap of 50 units/ac. However, much of the existing development in those zones is closer to 20-25 units/ac. It is true that most of the properties in the MF-1(A) area are below the cap. However, MF-1(A) has a density cap of 43 units/ac.** The consultant corrected this in later reports. 
Existing MF-1 zoned parcels are zoned to greater levels of development.  
Existing PD-15 has a density of 52.4 units/ac, but with the exception of the tower, does not meet that density, and is therefore zoned to additional development. This is the old Planned Development that encompasses Preston Tower, Athena, and the neighboring properties. At this point the consultant is indicating higher density is possible in PD-15.
New PD-946 has a density of 60 units/ac, and is zoned to develop more than was is currently there (~10 units/ac). This is the Laurel, Transwestern's development that was approved by City Council while the Task Force was in place.
  
** Referring to Chapter 51A of the City of Dallas reveals that the maximum number of units that can be constructed on an acre of land is achieved by providing only efficiency apartments and that a developer is charged with 1,000 sf for each. To derive the number of efficiency apartments that can be built, one must divide the number of square feet in an acre (43,560) by 1,000 giving no more than 43. 
 
Based on the above, the report identified 1,932 multi-family residential units in Zone 4 and (incorrectly) computed a maximum of 3,739 units.
 
Also presented this day was a 38-page presentation devoted to ”Alternate Scenarios” . The report covers several scenarios, with “Scenario G” devoted to Zone 4 (pp. 25-29), including the following diagram:
 
 
Scenario G - From Consultant's Report (p. 26) Comments and Clarification
Isolates the implications of establishing land use change on the parcels in red towards a higher density MF product than exists today. This is presumably referring to the diagram in the other report.
Much of the existing development is below the maximum allowable density. Although at this point the consultant has over-estimated maximum allowable density.
The bolded zoning labels show the maximum allowable density. It is unclear what diagram this is referring to.
Under Scenario B, all the red parcels would be redeveloped to their maximum zoning density. Under Scenario G, they would be redeveloped to a more realistic density So at this point, the consultant's vision for Zone 4, and by inference for PHSNA, is for density less than maximum potential. This position would later change to a density higher than the maximum potential.

 

The report then speaks to “Housing Options” (p. 27).
  • The lack of density is largely the result of higher parking ratios.
  • Multifamily units require 1 space for every 500 sqft of dwelling space. Therefore a typical 1,000 sqft unit would require 2 parking spaces.
  • Reducing unit sizes to between 750-850 sqft is necessary in order to achieve the zoned maximum density, along with reductions in landscaping
  • Alternatively, development that’s denser than the existing development, but less dense than the maximum zoned density development.
  • An example of these developments are summarized in the table below.
  Typical Current MF-1 Unit Moderate MF-1 Unit Maximum Zoned Regulation MF-1 Unit
Density (Units/Acre) 15-25 35 50
Unit size (Square Feet) 1,500 1,200 830
Parking Spaces 3.0 2.0 1.7
Landscaping 20% 15% 10%
Height 24’ (two stories) 36’ (three stories) 36’ (three stories)
  
Although the table does not indicate it, Maximum Zoned Regulation MF-1 Unit corresponds to “Scenario B” and Moderate MF-1 Unit corresponds to ”Scenario G.”
  
There then follows a table reiterating that they have identified 1,932 multi-family residential units in Zone 4, (incorrectly) computed a maximum of 3,739, and concluded that Scenario G would result in 2,126 units, or only 194 incremental units across the entire Zone 4. No other scenarios were mentioned.
  
The report then summarizes as follows:
Scenario G Summary from Consultant's Report (p. 29) Comments and Clarification
Majority of the Pink Wall area is MF-1, which has a density cap of 50 units/ac. However, much of the existing development in those zones is closer to 20-25 units/ac. The density cap is 43 units/ac.
Existing MF-1 zoned parcels are allowed to achieve greater levels of development under existing zoning regulations. Under Scenario G, MF-1 would redevelop, but to a more realistic density of 35 units/ac Confirms that the consultant's is visualizing redevelopment within PHSNA to be within the existing MF-1(A).
Existing PD-15 has a density of 52.4 units/ac, and meets that across entire PD, even though certain parcels are less dense. Under Scenario G, PD-15 would not redevelop. This is the Preston Tower, Athena, et. al. tract. 
New PD-946 has a density limit of 60 units/ac, while currently there is a density ~10 units/ac. Under Scenario G, this PD-946 will redevelop to this new density cap. Acknowledging that the Laurel / Transwestern tract will be built to the density approved by City Council.
 
Page 35 of the report styled “Next Steps” includes the following:
  • Based upon feedback received from the Advisory Task Force in this meeting, the consultant team will prepare revised alternative scenarios for discussion and public input at a Community Open House on March 22, 2016 (There was none.)
  • Building upon feedback from the Open House, the consultant team will prepare land use case studies, future land development strategies, and future transportation strategies
  • The consultant will meet with the Advisory Task Force on May 3 to discuss these preliminary strategies
  • Potential February ATF meeting 

March 3, 2016 - Advisory Task Force Zone 1 and Zone 4 Meetings
None of the material distributed at this meeting are at the NCTCOG website.
 
All residents of PHSNA were invited to an open house at Preston Tower being informed ahead of time that the agenda was the following. 
  • Presentation of the consultant's vision for Zone 4
  • Review of existing deed restrictions for properties located from the alley immediately east of THR (Townhouse Row) to Edgemere
  • Q&A
On the contrary, the agenda distributed at the meeting asked the attendees to look at 2 maps and do 2 things:
  • Vet and provide comments on the maps
  • Identify what you believe you are allowed to do and compare to the consultant analysis. The more you can provide, the better.
One map styled “Scenario A” identified the number of units in each property today as derived from DCAD records and totaled at 2,138 residential units, up from the 1,932 in the February 16, 2016, materials. Residents were able to provide the consultant corrected numbers for some properties. The number of units in each property in PHSNA is on this public website, so inviting the neighborhood to vet these numbers was not necessary. 
 
No longer was there any mention of Scenario G, which visualized 2,126 units -- fewer than the number now identified as already in Zone 4. On the contrary, there was now a “Scenario B” map that anticipated 4,094 housing units — nearly double the current number. 
 
There are at least 3 elements that constrain development in PHSNA:
  • Zoning is a constraint established by a municipality, such as MF-1(A) which is applicable Behind the Pink Wall
  • Deed restrictions are attached to the land and are recorded at the courthouse. 
  • A Planned Development is customized to a particular circumstance, such as PD-15 which comprises Preston Tower, Athena, and large properties between them, and PD-946 for the Laurel.
It was evident that the consultants had not studied the deed restrictions, and, based on the number of units in PD-15 in “Scenario B,” had an inadequate understanding of this planned development. A chart distributed with the materials was still indicating 50 units per acre for MF-1(A) and the consultant was informed of this error. Judging from the agenda, it was evident the consultants were looking to the residents to educate them on the complexities of the three elements, an objective that was not achieved nor could it have been achieved in that manner.
  
The meeting became chaotic and the promised Q&A did not materialize leaving the attendees with no opportunity to query the consultant on ”Scenario B.”

March 30, 2016 - Advisory Task Force Meeting
Agenda .
 
Mark Bowers reported that they had “received additional data (through meetings with property owners in Zones 1 and 4) and updated the Current Built Condition and Zoning Build Out Scenario.” This is not quite right as nothing specific was brought out regarding build out scenarios for PD-15, deed restrictions were not covered in sufficient specificity, nor was anyone in attendance from outside of the PHSNA portion of Zone 4.

 

A 31-page report on “Alternative Scenarios” included two devoted to Zone 4 (pp. 21-24)
 
A “Baseline Scenario” contemplated 1,957 new multi-family units and an “Alternative Scenario” proposed 2,000-2,500 new multi-family units. The latter would require the 4 elements listed below.
Alternative Scenario Requirements Comments and Clarification
Deed restrictions would have to be removed The consultant gave no indication as to how they proposed to do this. Only designated beneficiaries in the restrictions  — specifically the property owners — are permitted to remove the restrictions. 
Maintain existing residential proximity slope and include other provisions to ensure adequate buffer from existing homes at the rear The residential proximity slope is an imaginary line that originates on the rear boundary line of the single-family homes across the Bandera alley and ramps up at the rate of one foot for each yard of distance from the line. No construction may penetrate this line, essentially ensuring nothing higher than 2 stories can be constructed on the north side of Bandera. 
On-site parking requirements reduced Nothing specific was indicated.
Change zoning to allow for increased density The consultant gave no indication as to how they proposed to do this. 
  
A “Scenario Comparison Matrix” indicated the “Baseline Scenario” had 4,213 units but omitted any indication as to how ”Alternative Scenario” unit counts were derived .  If 4,123 units were in the baseline that resulted in 1,957 more units, then the consultants were then using 2,166 as the current count, up from 2,138 on March 3, 2016.
 
There was no explanation as to what had become of “Scenario B” from the March 3, 2016 meeting. 
 
Scott Fregonese, the consultant developing the numbers, stated after the meeting that their build-out for MF-1(A) now contemplated 43 units/acre. This presumably indicates the vision for the “Baseline Scenario” are many efficiency apartments, but this is uncertain.

May 3, 2016 - Advisory Task Force Meeting
Agenda .
The consultants presented a 116-page presentation devoted primarily to Preston Center . ”Based upon ATF input at the March 30th meeting related to alternative scenarios to be evaluated, the team has modeled the scenarios and developed supporting documentation of implications. The team has also developed a Vision which includes the preferred development scenario, transportation improvements and public realm improvements. We include both short-term and long-term recommendations to achieve this vision.”
 
Included was a DRAFT Vision Statement: “The Northwest Highway and Preston neighborhood is a desirable place to be in Dallas, offering a variety of living, working, shopping, entertainment and recreation choices, with Preston Center at its heart, a premier place of employment with a vibrant mixed-use environment, surrounded and nurtured by strong, stable, protected neighborhoods, and well connected by multiple local and regional transportation options.”
 
The consultants took 3 steps to arrive at a “Proposed Preferred” Scenario for Zone 4, all of which is best depicted in the following graph (p. 54). I will omit reference to graphs for retail and commercial as they are irrelevant for PHSNA.
 
 
The chart is tricky as the bar for “Existing Conditions” is what is in Zone 4 today - 2,256 units. This is a an increase of about 130 units from the March 3 materials. The other bars represent increases over ”Existing Conditions.” “Baseline Scenario” is intended to represent additional maximum new units given existing zoning. In other words, developers could theoretically increase the number of units in Zone 4 by 1,957 units without any zoning changes. I use the word ”theoretical” as this very like does not represent a realistic maximum given the economics of development Behind the Pink Wall.
 
The consultants then looked at two scenarios depicted as 4A and 4B, which are substantially below the density of any scenario previously presented. The basis for their density computations was not revealed other than verbally indicating that 4A corresponded to 34 units/acre and 4B to 43 units per acre. To put these in perspective, the Transwestern development is more than 60 units/acre.
 
The consultants then examined the traffic implications of the scenarios identified as 4A, 4B, and Baseline compared to Existing Conditions (pp. 33-35).  The results for residential, office, and retail were blended so identifying the implications solely to the residential components of PHSNA is impossible. “Daily Trips” were up for all scenarios.
 
The consultants presented a vision derived from all the feedback from PHSNA residents. They distinguished between Zone 4 East (east of Edgemere) and Zone 4 West. For Zone 4 West, they concluded (pp. 50-51):
  • A desirable, multi-generational residential neighborhood providing a range of choices in urban residential products
  • High quality public realm with street trees and sidewalks connecting to surrounding neighborhoods, adjacent neighborhood supporting retail, and to Preston Center
Based on the vision and traffic studies, the consultant derived the ”Proposed Preferred Scenario 4P” as indicated above: an increment of between 1,200 and 1,800 units in all of Zone 4. Note that this is down from the 2,000-2,500 increment units of March 3. There is no indication as to what extent this increment is in Zone 4 East or West. To achieve these densities, the consultant had the same requirements as indicated above for the March 30 meeting.
 
The report concluded with short-range (pp. 62-92) and long-range improvements (pp. 93-108), predominately related to Northwest Hwy. and Preston Center. Suggestions for PHSNA included a better pedestrian crosswalk at Pickwick and Northwest Hwy. and sidewalks on Averill Way and Bandera.
 

June 2, 2016 - Community Open House
A large number of Zone 4 residents attended this well-organized open forum. Anyone who wished to speak was given the opportunity to express their opinion and to submit comments on structured Comment Forms provided for the purpose.
 
A 42-page presentation contained a DRAFT Vision Statement (p. 15):
  • The Northwest Highway and Preston Road area is a desirable place to be in Dallas.
  • It continues to offer living, working, shopping, entertainment and recreation choices and is nurtured by strong, stable, protected neighborhoods connected by multiple local and regional transportation options.
  • Preston Center, at the heart of the neighborhood, is a premier place of employment with a vibrant, mixed-use environment.
A more specific vision for the PHSNA portion of Zone 4 was as follows (p. 20):
  • Multi-generational residential neighborhood providing a range of choices in urban residential products 
  • High quality public realm with street trees and sidewalks connecting to surrounding neighborhoods, adjacent neighborhood supporting retail, and to Preston Center
Stations were set up about the room devoted to different aspects of the vision, with Station 4 devoted to Zone 4: 1] “Development Scenarios” 2] “Public Realm.”
  
Distributed on the NCTCOG website after the meeting was a collection of the materials at each exhibit station, with a portion devoted to Station 4 (pp. 26-32).
 
The charts retain the 1,200-1,800 new units from the May 3 Task Force meeting and appears to settle in on 1,700 as a reasonable compromise, still less than the “Baseline Scenario” of 1,957 (p. 31). A “Scenario 3D Visualization Comparison” portrayed existing development, current allowed zoning, and preferred scenario (presumably the 1,700) (p. 28). Although the 3D visualization identified a possible redevelopment scenario for each parcel in PHSNA it came with the bold proviso that “Note: The preferred scenario and the resulting implications are intended to isolate the implications of differing land use decisions in the study area - they are not to be considered as future plans for the area and are theoretical locations.“ 
 

July 7, 2016 - Advisory Task Force Meeting
Agenda  .
 
At the meeting mention was made of a 158-page report, but it has not been place at the NCTCOG website. See below for how to access. A 44-page Presentation has been included. Jennifer remarked at the large turnout for Zone 4 at the Community Open House!
 
The report indicates that the Preferred Scenario is for 1,700 new units in Zone 4, only slightly more than the 1,670 permitted under existing zoning (p. 17).
 
The following chart was presented, but during conversation, it was suggested that the right-most column be omitted in the future. (p 31)
 
Development Triggers for Zone 4
  Transportation Urban Design Land Use
Short to Mid-Term
  • Perimeter sidewalks
  • Signalize Edgemere and Northwest Highway if warrants are met **
  • Streetscape amenities
  • 500 net new multi-family units
  • 40,000 square feet  net new retail
Long-term Vision
  • Access management plan
  • Streetscape amenities
  • Street tree gaps completed
  • 1,200-1,800 net new multi-family units
  • 60,000 - 80,000 square feet net new retail
** Michael Morris said this means the intersection will be studied and it will be added if conditions warrant it.
 
We have been promised a third community meeting in September.
 
A DRAFT of the final report (85 MB pdf) and appendices (72 MB pdf) as of July 1, 2016, has been made available to us by Steve and Patti. These are very large files. For the final report draft, click here. For the appendices to the final report draft, click here. And the wait patiently.

January 25, 2017 - City Council
 
The final report was approved by the full City Council. For the final report, click here
The reference to PHSNA is on page 9. 
Multi-Family Residential Neighborhoods
Most of the multi-family residential units in the Preston Center area are located along the north side of Northwest Highway, between Preston and Hillcrest Roads. Originally developed in the 1960’s, this neighborhood contains both high-rise and low-rise condominiums, rental apartments, senior living facilities, and limited commercial developments near the intersection of Northwest Highway and Hillcrest Road. Over the past ten years, a significant portion of this neighborhood has been redeveloped. Most of the residents in this multi-family neighborhood and in the adjoining single family neighborhoods to the north want to limit additional redevelopment projects to a maximum of four stories, with smaller building footprints and more green space.
  
There are serious deficiencies in the storm water drainage systems serving this neighborhood, causing recurring flooding and property damage, and continuing redevelopment will exacerbate these issues. The City of Dallas needs to address these problems in order to accommodate the increased density that is permitted under current zoning.