Neighbors Say Fears of Dallas Housing Development Came True

Neighbors complain of cheap materials and lost trees

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Neighbors of a new Southwest Dallas housing development said their fears have come true after seeing what is under construction. In social media, there are many complaints posted online about the project.

The City of Dallas invested around $1 million in economic development bond money to build new streets for the development of around 20 affordable new homes off Blue Ridge Boulevard at Rio Grande Avenue.

Neighbors opposed the development when it was first proposed four years ago.

Craig Wheeler leads the Kiest Forest Estates Neighborhood Association.

“Our neighborhood is called Kiest Forest for a reason.  So, I was envisioning something that had more continuity with the existing neighborhood instead of a start contrast,” Wheeler said.

His adjacent neighborhood is older, larger custom homes that new owners like Guy Empie are updating and renovating. Empie is a homebuilder himself. He said cheaper building materials and a loss of trees in the new development does not help his neighborhood.

“It’s definitely not a boost,” Empie said. “It was full of trees. They went in there and just basically clear cut the whole thing. Didn’t try to save anything. They just went in and mowed it all down.”

Four years ago, when NBC5 first visited the new home site, developer Mike Davis shared renderings of planned homes that look nothing like the ones under construction now.

July 2016 NBC5 story on proposed development

“It doesn’t look like that and it’s unfortunate. We had such a missed opportunity,” Wheeler said.

In 2016, Davis said a quality product was planned that would complement the neighborhood.

“They’re houses that are $180,000 to $300,000. That’s where we’re starting right now. That’s not less expensive per square foot than anything that’s within a mile of here,” Davis said in 2016.

There are no signs at the development displaying prices for the home under construction. Davis did not return a message from NBC 5 Tuesday.

“We certainly understand the need for affordable housing but we also understand the need geographically where it needed to be. We are saturated with it here,” Wheeler said.

Dallas City Council Member Casey Thomas, who represents the neighborhood, responded to a request for comment with a text message.

‘I was just made aware of it by a tag on social media yesterday. I have contacted the project manager in the housing department to go out and update me on whatever needs to be done at the site,” Thomas said.

A city spokesperson replied to a request for comment late Tuesday and said the Blue Ridge project has satisfied all city requirements for construction.

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