Dallas City Council Approves Zoning Change For Mixed-Use Project At Preston Center

The Dallas City Council recently approved an ordinance granting planned development district zoning status for the mixed-use development in the works on the Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church campus on Colgate Avenue between Lomo Alto Drive and Douglas Avenue in the southwest part of Preston Center.

The ordinance was approved subject to conceptual and development plans, among other things.

The plans, announced in 2018, include an office building on Douglas Avenue, and a residential building on the western side of the site. The project will also feature a full-service restaurant with a patio and other ground-floor retail that opens onto public green space along Douglas Avenue.

Saint Michael, and their development partner Lincoln Property Company, considered a project on the same piece of land in 2015 but put those plans on hold pending the recommendations of the Northwest Highway and Preston Road Area Task Force led by Dallas City Councilmember Jennifer Gates.

”I wish I could have gotten every concern addressed over the last couple of years that we’ve been working on this case, and I know there is this point of contention related to the Weldon Howell intersection,” she said. ”I’ve worked with the applicant, they’ve conceded to a lot of other requests…many of them included making the traffic flow better.”

The proposed development is expected to generate approximately 4,175 new daily trip ends on weekdays, 300 in the morning peak hour and 370 in the afternoon peak hour, according to a study.

Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church rector Chris Girata said the church supports fixing the light at Sherry Lane and Douglas, continuing to stripe Weldon Howell Parkway to Colgate, installing a right-turn lane at the corner of Douglas and Sherry Lane, and installing no-parking signs south of Weldon Howell to Colgate, but doesn’t agree with aligning Weldon Howell and the private drive because of safety concerns.

“We want to make Douglas safer and our studies confirm the opinion of city staff that keeping the drives offset is the safest…option for us,” he said. “This collaborative work was thoroughly vetted by the City Planning Commission and I was thrilled when it passed unanimously Nov. 7. We have a very thoughtful and future-focused plan for you tonight.”

Steve Stoner of Pacheco Koch said his office prepared the traffic studies for the project and the church’s ownership agreed on improvements including fixing the traffic signal detectors, making pedestrian improvements at the Douglas and Sherry intersection, and re-striping Douglas between Sherry and Colgate. Stoner said the city is also studying opportunities to upgrade the public alley on the north end of the site to allow for two-way traffic and better access.

As for the question of the offset intersection, Stoner said, “the preferred option is what you see on the plan. We feel this provides larger green space, improved walkability…is safer and more cohesive.”

Marny Blake, however, asked that officials address traffic concerns in the area of the development before approval.

“We are not opposed to their development…all we’re asking is to fix the traffic instead of diverting it to our neighborhood where our kids play,” Blake said.

Melanie Walz echoed the concerns about the potential for more traffic to end up flowing through the residential area on Colgate Avenue.

“We’re already saying OK to them building apartments, a business office, and restaurant. We’re simply asking that they not, in addition to all that, funnel the traffic through our residential street full of families and kids. Funnel it through Weldon Howell Parkway, a business parkway, rather than bringing it through our neighborhood,” Walz said.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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