Plan Commission Tables Transwestern Vote

Transwestern will need to wait two more weeks to learn its fate.
Transwestern will need to wait two more weeks to learn its fate.

A bit of gamesmanship provided the latest twist in the ongoing Transwestern apartment saga on Thursday.

The developer’s rezoning request for two acres at the northeast corner of Preston Road and Northwest Highway was on the agenda for a vote by the Dallas Plan Commission, but was tabled until Sept. 3 — apparently because some area residents in opposition to the project claim they haven’t been properly informed.

“There is a very strong sentiment among Preston Hollow East neighbors” that they didn’t have sufficient knowledge of Transwestern’s plan to construct 164 luxury apartments at the key intersection near Preston Center, according to District 13 commissioner Margot Murphy.

The most vocal opposition to the project during the past 18 months has indeed come from members of the Preston Hollow East Homeowners Association, which has held community rallies and posted frequent updates to its website about the case, including notice of Thursday’s meeting.

The delay tactic clearly aggravated a handful of speakers who came to City Hall on Thursday in support of the proposal, which has been scaled back multiple times in terms of building height and density from Transwestern’s original plan, in response to neighborhood concerns. In fact, the developer abandoned its plans to buy land and build there last fall, only to try again with a new concept a few months later.

The project currently calls for 164 units, with four-story buildings, significant landscaping, and no surface parking. It would replace a complex of 34 aging condominiums that currently sits at the location.

“They’ve really bent over backward and they’ve listened to us,” said Mike Derrick, president of the Prestwick Manor Homeowners Association. “It looks like a complex that we’d be proud to have there.”

Transwestern is asking for a one-floor variance on the southern half of the 3.5-acre property. Current zoning allows for only three stories and 120 units.

“We’re concerned that the number of units will create a tremendous traffic problem at the intersection of Averill and Preston Road, especially at peak hours,” said retired attorney Steve Dawson, whose family has owned an eight-unit apartment building at the intersection of Averill Way and Bandera Avenue for 40 years.

The land also sits within a larger area under consideration from the Northwest Highway and Preston Road Area Plan task force, a group of volunteers appointed by the city whose task is creating guidelines to shape future development around Preston Center. The task force won’t have its final recommendations ready until next spring, at the earliest.

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