Project Near Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge Approved

Compromise pleases West Dallas neighbors and developers

A deal to help West Dallas neighbors and developers was approved Wednesday by the Dallas City Council after a year of sometimes bitter fighting.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay restricts future building height in the La Bajada neighborhood near the base of the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge across the Trinity River.

A group of investors including restaurateur Phil Romano have already begun work on the project they call Trinity Groves.

Their plans call for eating establishments by this fall but mid-rise apartments and stores later.

Residents of the adjacent La Bajada neighborhood feared the project would tower over their homes and squeeze out their residential area.

So they petitioned for the NSO which was up for final Dallas City Council approval today.

A last minute compromise moved the NSO border about a block further into the neighborhood from Singleton Boulevard, allowing the investors to include more of their property in the future development.

"I believe this is much about trust and respect as it is about zoning," said councilwoman Sandy Greyson.

Both sides said they were pleased with the result.

"We've been more open," said Phil Romano. "They were afraid, out of fear that we were going to come back and poke them out of their neighborhood and we don’t want that. We want that neighborhood to stay there and we want to help them, help it grow and be better down there."

Romano said the development will include a buffer area between the existing homes where building heights will rise gradually as structures move closer to Singleton Boulevard.

He also promises to add landscaping and monument sign structures to beautify La Bajada.

"Before we didn't know what they were building," said La Bajada resident Eva Elvove. "It was just a study. It wasn't definite and that’s what we wanted. We wanted something concrete. We wanted something definite and we got it."

The NSO will restrict the size of future homes in the residential side streets but will not forbid new construction that could boost property values.

"We want growth. We want our community to grow. And we just want to get away from all these negatives," said La Bajada property owner Delores Castillo Ramos.

Future Dallas City Council approval is still required for other elements of the Trinity Groves plan but both sides say their new working relationship will make that smoother.

"They get to build what they want to build and we get to be part of it and that’s what we wanted," Elvove said.

"We've joined together now and I think together we'll do a lot more for their community and help our project out," said Romano.

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