DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – More high-rises may be coming to Preston Center in Dallas after City Council unanimously approved a zoning change this week. It’s been a hot button topic for more than two years, ever since a condominium in the area was destroyed by a deadly fire.
It’s in a neighborhood known for decades as “behind the Pink Wall,” 14 acres north of Northwest Highway.
It was where Karen Stuart called home until fire ravaged Preston Place Condominiums.
“I watched my unit burn. It was very difficult to do,” says Stuart. “I got out with not anything except what I had on.”
Since then, she has lobbied for up-to-date zoning of the area, officially known as Planned Development 15. This week, City Council approved the change, which would allow high-rise towers of up to 22 stories. It also required green space and incentives to encourage developers to forge a park-like setting.
“It’s been a priority for us in Dallas that when we have redevelopment, that we have more green space, particularly in areas that are dense, apartments, condos, that don’t have their own backyards,” says City Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates.
But opponents of the change say the battle isn’t over.
“When they did not listen to our argument about democracy and they proceeded to pass the developer’s plan, of course we were very disappointed,” says Steve Dawson, a member of a group called Citizens Advocating Responsible Development. “Everyone knows this area, Northwest Highway, is very congested. We’re going to add to that.
He cites density and infrastructure as primary concerns. Supporters say development beats a deteriorating lot. Stuart says she and her former neighbors can finally move forward.
“It’s as if for two and a half years, we haven’t breathed. Now we can breathe. Now we can relax. Now we can look forward to possibility,” Stuart says.
The opponents say they are speaking with zoning attorneys and will decide their next step over the next 7-10 days.