Former Head of City's Urban Forest Advisory Committee Begs CPC Not to Approve Walmart

WalmartSite.jpg
The proposed site of a new Walmart off Ledbetter
Longtime Friends of Unfair Park will recognize the name Steve Houser: He's the former chair of the Dallas Urban Forest Advisory Committee honored by George W. Bush in '08 for his volunteer work saving the city's trees. Reason I mention him today: The arborist sends word that he and other past and present presidents of the Dallas Historic Tree Coalition are vehemently opposed to that Walmart proposed at IH-35 and Ledbetter, which we told you about last week and which goes before the City Plan Commission this afternoon.

As we noted Friday, city staff is concerned about Walmart's plans to bulldoze 6,468 caliper inches of protected trees while mitigating only 10 percent of that loss -- a familiar subject for those who caught Monday's discussion about developers' occasional willful disregard for tree replacement as dictated by Dallas City Code. City staff, which wonders why Walmart isn't taking over the former Sam's Club across Ledbetter, has told the CPC that Walmart is "proposing a tree preservation area in lieu of providing required mitigation, but the area they are proposing to preserve is already protected as floodplain."

To which Houser and Bill Seaman, past DHTC presidents, and current prez Mary Graves add this:
The Dallas Historic Tree Coalition contends that the applicant's requests are contrary to the spirit of Article X and are detrimental to the general health and welfare of the citizens of Dallas. ... Additionally, the Dallas Historic Tree Coalition asks that no trees located within the Five Mile Creek 100-year flood plain contribute in any manner to a mitigation plan, as those trees are protected through the Flood Plain Ordinance.
Their whole missive follows. WalmartTreesOppositionLetter
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32 comments
Urbandweller
Urbandweller

If I'm correct, Walmart hired Kathy Nealy as a consultant...check out previous news print. The tree issue was always deemed to be a big political issue. This deal will be soley left up to the people of Southern Dallas to block it and the Dallas Historic Tree Coalition. Hell, I have several large pecan trees at least a 100 years (still producing) that I dare someone to try and cut. This is political crap and I am so turned off to Dallas politics. It stinks. 

Fo Sho
Fo Sho

The things white people will do to stop blacks from getting a store in the hood.

Liesl
Liesl

So, we can count on all of you to be there at the city council meeting to show your disapproval of this plan, right?

Houser J
Houser J

Really, do we need another frigging walmart? I don't think so.....we need trees. Go Steve!

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

I guess Walmart only cares about the environment  in white North Dallas neighborhoods:

"Store Design Incorporates Environmentally Friendly Features

The Dallas and Plano Supercenters include energy efficient technology and environmentally friendly features to reduce energy and water consumption and minimize waste. The stores’ skylights harvest daylight and reduce the amount of energy required to light the store by up to 75 percent daily. LED lighting throughout the store operates 70 percent more efficiently than traditional fluorescent lighting.

Low-flow toilets and motion-sensitive faucets reduce the water used in the store’s bathrooms. The store also recycles everything from motor oil to waste cooking oil, and uses a sandwich bale process that takes all loose plastic, hangers, aluminum cans and office paper and sandwiches them between cardboard, bundles them into bales and sends them to recycling centers."

http://walmartstores.com/press...

I believe the term is "green washing".

Just what Dallas needs low paying part time jobs with no benefits.

pak152
pak152

while caliper inches is a means for expressing the diameter of the trees something that only an arborist would know. now for us unedumacated folks how many acres of trees are they seeking to cut down. can the be drawn on the aerial photo so we get a good idea of what everyone is talking about?

Hannibal_Lecter
Hannibal_Lecter

So if you don't let Walmart build there, who do you let build there? And if you don't want to let anyone build there, are you willing to write the check to the property owner to compensate them for taking their land? You know, that pesky old Fifth Amendment: "...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." 

Liesl
Liesl

I stand with Steve. We should be ashamed of ourselves for letting this get this far. Yet, from what I hear, there was not one opposing voice in the CPC meeting today where this was passed. The next step is the city council. Show up. Speak up. I'm chiding myself as much as anyone else here.

Brian
Brian

Don't we already have enough retail in South Dallas?

Ben
Ben

I thought that the city learned their lesson after the Timbercreek mess that the tree ordinance lacks any teeth. The consequences of the mismanagement of the Timbercreek project extend far beyond their property line.

The little creek that runs through there, I believe is called Caruth Branch of White Rock Creek. Starts in the low dip of the Old Town parking lot near Royal Thai and makes a gentle meander through the Village, past Timbercreek, Super Target and enters White Rock Creek behind the Tom Thumb at Skillman/Abrams. That's where one can see the marked change in what Timbercreek has done not only to Caruth Branch but also White Rock Creek and the lake.

Once Timbercreek lost the trees, was turned into a strip mine and then paved, the little creek during heavy rains became a violent torrent of water. The results are easy to see. The White Rock Creek Trail has a metal bike path bridge with wooden planks over the little creek there behind Tom Thumb. In the past, 2 or three boards would need replacing per year due to cracks or creaking. Since the Timbercreek construction, the whole bridge is often nuked after a heavy rain event. It has been closed multiple times and been completely rebuilt at least 3 times due to just the sheer force of all that extra water hitting it. Not from White Rock Creek, from that little Caruth Branch. Also, the creek now carries a large sediment load with it, forming a bar where it enters White Rock Creek. Much of it is this chopped up limestone material from construction. Easy to point right at Timbercreek and blame them.

Developers own city hall. Nothing to be done really. I think many have given Bill Blaydes the blame for Timbercreek, since he can't defend himself anymore. Pretty cheap if you ask me. Gotta blame someone. Anyone but yourself.

Wal-mart will cite the crummy little junipers and lack of any real trees in their petition to skirt the ordinance. The area south of Ledbetter has only reforested itself in the last 50 years. No one gives a damn about Five Mile Creek, many have never heard of it. So few people go down there that it has become a repository for loose livestock. Wild mustangs, mean cows with horns, pigs with tusks.

jcs
jcs

Somebody please stop Walmart, they are erupting everywhere in Dallas. Yuk

Montemalone
Montemalone

You guys just aren't thinking clearly.Trees need water.We're running out of water.Cut down all the trees.More water for Plano.

Guest
Guest

Before they should even be allowed to talk about cutting down more trees, they should address the trees they have already axed at Northwest Highway and Skillman.  There is no way they properly mitigated those trees!

lorlee
lorlee

We can't leave it just to Steve -- we all need to be creating a fuss.  I believe I heard that the reason they want the treed site as opposed to the already cleared site has something to do with the sale of liquor.

Rawlins Gilliland
Rawlins Gilliland

I wish Steve Houser has been able to stop (the) Councilwoman Dr. Maxine Thornton Reese's hand-holding violation of the tree caliper ordinance when the leveled God knows how many acres a few blocks behind my home at the northeastern part of the Trinity Forest for the clear-cut home development at the corner of Bruton Road & Jim Miller in Pleasant Grove south of me.  Or at the northeast corner of the Trinity Forest a block from my house at the corner of Jim Miller Road & Scyene in my neighborhood, Piedmont///when they not only clear cut...they BULL dozed down dozens of excavated feet to remove the entire hill in order to 'level' the land on what should have been an illegal home building. 

Then there was further north on Jim Miler where the neighborhoods Parkdale & Urbandale meet on Jim Miller & Forney Roads.  Oh, I almost forgot the earliest violation, the development at I-175 & Lake June.  Homes. Clear cut into forested land despite the ordinance that was, incidentally, created by my HOA (Piedmont/Scyene Homeowners) former president during his tenure in the late 90s ....all covered in an Observer (cover?) story. 

At least Ledbetter is not anywhere near the Great Trinity Forest that was supposedly protected by the Trinity Plan & the tree ordinance alike.  Oh, I almost forgot the recent clear cutting for the new 'Charter School' at the elevated corner of my neighborhood overlooking Scyene Rd behind Fiesta that, rather than being built at Buckner & Bruton on existing cement that was vacant was built on springs next to the historic 1880s Cemetary at Buckner & Scyene Rd.  .

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

" ... which wonders why Walmart isn't taking over the former Sam's Club across Ledbetter ... " why reuse a building when you can cut down trees?

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

If Steve Houser says bad idea, I'm with him. 

Casual Observer
Casual Observer

There are a lot of sites in Oak Cliff that can be redeveloped.  Why destroy all the trees when right down the street they could put a building on a site that has already been destroyed by developers?  We are not trying to keep you from getting a store,I think the issue here is that we have already seen the Timber Creek development debacle and know what will happen to the last remaining beautiful section of Dallas.

scottindallas
scottindallas

all but the automatic sinks/toilets and low flow have been standard in retail for 25-30 years.  I heard they also use fuel efficient radial tires on their trucks, with high tech, streamlined paint, and to save the animals, Naugahyde upholstery

pak152
pak152

want to save the trees then buy the property and turn it into a park/nature reserve or reduce the taxes on the property as a means of encouraging the property owner to not develop it.

Ben
Ben

A famous man once said fool me once, shame on you. Fool me, you can't get fooled again. Haha. Luckily he said it in Tennessee, not Texas. Citizens are just being played for fools, is all. Ever seen a treelined Wal-Mart parking lot? Me neither.

BTW: I like the Timbercreek Whataburger. I'm not in some rabid boycott hater mode. But as I sit there sipping on my Whatasized Dr Pepper, looking up at the 30 foot retaining wall out in the drive thru lane, I cannot help but think of how nice it once looked with all those trees. Place looks like El Paso, not Dallas.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

I think that's the first time that question's ever been asked. South Dallas is always complaining about how there's no retail and it's all north of downtown.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

This area is not South Dallas,its in the South section of Dallas,South West Oak Cliff.very beautiful hills and creeks with lots of matured trees and beautiful custom built older brick homes very well kept area.

Gardeners61
Gardeners61

I think you missed the point. Councilmen need votes.  Elections cost money.  Corporations that want to cut down trees provide funding for election campagins.  Trees lose, along with the rest of us who think the world already has enough Wal-Marts, Targets, Costcos, etc.

jcs
jcs

You are so right. That used to be a beautiful treed complex where  humans lived , instead of a giant ugly blight on the neighborhood. I will drive 10 miles out of my way and pay more  to avoid going to Walmart.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

There is a church close to clear site across creek.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Nobody cares about ourpart of East Dallas. Buckner Terrace is ignored, except during elections... Then they show up, hat in hand...

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

And if Bill Holston agrees with Steve Houser, I'm with him, too.How can we help, Steve?

Urbandweller
Urbandweller

It must be the right retail and not another "Big a..Box store". What if the store does not work after a few years? It then becomes a "Big a.. Flea Market" in the middle of a once beautiful neighborhood. Another heat island. We have enough Family Dollars, Dollar General, Tabacco Stores, mom and pop stores that don't hire people within the community, chicken fried rice places, Wigs USA, Pawns Shops, Title Max, Walmart empty  buildings, Lancaster Kiest Mall........

Montemalone
Montemalone

Sorry, I forgot to use the sarcasm font.

scottindallas
scottindallas

they've actually built an interesting complex there, though I have every intention of never setting foot on that property.  Timbercreek was filled with beautiful trees and a beautiful creek.  Now, we have a rip-wrap floodway.

Casual Observer
Casual Observer

It was there, but it is just another example of money talks and trees get cut down.

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