The Opposition to New High-End Apartments in Richardson is the Primal Scream of Suburbia

GoodFultonFarrellRendering.png
A rendering of the planned Palisades development, the stake through Canyon Creek's heart.
In Richardson, along the booming Central Expressway corridor, architecture firm Good Fulton and Farrell and developer JP Partners have teamed up on the Palisades project, a large mixed-use development they plan to put on 58 mostly vacant acres across the freeway from DART's Galatyn Park light rail station.

The folks who live in the adjacent Canyon Creek and Prairie Creek neighborhoods are, for the most part, fine with the 1.5 million square feet of office space and the 200,000 square feet set aside for restaurant and retail. They're even OK with the 65 town homes planned for the site and, to a lesser extent, the 250 condos.

Their beef is with the 750 high-end apartment units, which many are convinced will turn their pleasant neighborhoods into crime-plagued Vickery Meadow and their exemplary elementary schools -- Prairie Creek, Canyon Creek, and Aldridge -- into miniature versions of Lake Highland's Forest Meadow Junior High, "commonly known today as Forest Ghetto," as one man was keen to point out.

Those concerns were raised Tuesday evening before Richardson's City Plan Commission. At first, the opposition to the project was couched as concern that the already full schools wouldn't be able to bear the flood of additional children (GFF predicts that there will be 18 of elementary age). It soon became clear, however, that the root of their concerns came from a deep-seated phobia of apartment dwellers.

Below, we've excerpted some of the testimony:

Todd Franks (a former Vickery Meadow Public Improvement District board chair):

At the beginning it starts out as shiny, new nice. Vickery Meadows was developed out as a singles community, it's virtually all one-bedroom apartments..but there are a ton of children .that go to the schools there. We have had to tear down three large apartment communities to build three large schools. This happens over time. It doesn't happen overnight. Everyone says rents will be $1,600, $2,500. That is true today. It's going to lose its luster and at some point it will be more affordable housing

Kevin Chumney:

I'm not here to raise the specter of apartments, whether they're good or bad. My wife grew up in apartments so i don't perhaps have that same gut reaction that other people have, but she did rise above it; she married me, lucky girl.

Brian Bolton:

Now we're talking about changing the zoning, adding more units, now I'm not going to be able to send my kid to the elementary school that's in my neighborhood, and I may be out $250,000 that it costs to send my kid to a private school, because my kid might get bussed to another school that's only academically acceptable or, God forbid, academically unacceptable. That's an issue for me....

You get this cycle with the elementary school. People come in, they avoid paying private school costs, increases demand for homes, increases the tax value of the homes and then it just keeps (going upward) now what you have is you can reverse that cycle and this type of development could reverse that cycle. You get like a bank run. You get fear. People leave. EDverybody puts their house on the market on the same time. Prices crash. Tax collections crash. Money for services crash and you basically just caused blight in the neighborhood and that's what we're trying to avoid.

David Schaeffers:

To bring in high-density apartment complex is going to be a big issue... [We don't want] just a lot of transitional people who are moving into an apartment for a year or two, then moving out. We want somebody who's going to really care about the community, care about the schools and care about our policemen our firefighers, everyone who makes this a a home and not just a development.

There's a lot of talk about investment and there's a lot of money I'm sure in this but there's also a lot of people who invest a lot of hours --PTA moms who invest their heart and soul to make this a neighborhood people love and to make the Prairie Creek neighborhood a place that is beautiful and a place that can be a home and not just a place where you can find an efficiency apartment to live in for a year.

The high-denisty part of it is really what turns my family's guts in all of this.

Scott Sedberry:

I think the general feeling is that the model that's been applied [for estimating the number of school-age children] is perhaps less than what we believe is appropriate given Prairie Creek and Aldridge and Canyon Creek's status within the state. It's more appropriate to look at an area perhaps like the Park Cities where those apartments that are efficiency and one-bedrooms are populated by families with kids, because that is the entry point that allows them access to that education. That is what families compete for.

Charles Fell:

As far as Richardson is concerned, I think that two of our best resources are its low crime and its good school district, and I think that one of my concerns is, are we potentially jeopardizing that long-term. I moved my family from an area in Lake Highlands that had high-denisty apartments. Every year the crime got worse and worse and impacted the schools negatively. Looking at my neighbors, half were having to send their kids to private schools to get that education they were looking for.

Liz Damelio:

The reason I moved into Prairie Creek was because of the scenery, the trees, and the people walking and running in our neighborhood, and especially the greenery of our trees. Our trees our just beautiful. I have two large oak trees that are probably about 75 years old. We take care of them like they were our babies, and I oppose these Palisades townhomes and apartments, and the reason for it is because they disintegrate, 10, 15 years from now, and it's going to devalue our home value...

Everybody moves into Prairie Creek is because of the fantastic school, and what makes it fantastic are the parents that volunteer, day in and day out. I alone volunteered more than 800 hours last year, and that's what makes it a great school. If we have any more students in the school, it would eliminate the education of our students....

Also, what are you going to do about the water, the supply water? No one has mentioned that. I mean, that's an important issue. I mean you put more than 1,000 units in there, what's going to happen to the water supply? That's a huge consideration. Also, I know Walmart has been talking about coming in, and my huge opinion on that is the grocery carts, they're going to on the part of every DART bus stop, it's going to clutter and degrade our neighborhood. All of that trash is going to go into our beautiful creek, we have a beautiful waterfall. I don't want that ruined. It would degrade our neighborhood.

Patricia Simmons:

I have never seen [home] values escalate like they have [in Prairie Creek] and they are all driven by that little school. That school is why everyone wants to be there. It is like a private school in a residential development. The closest thing I can come to compare it is Highland Park, and I know that sounds crazy, but 10 or 15 years ago, residential lots were selling in the Park Cities for 400 or 500 thousands dollars and being torn down for new construction. That very same thing is happening right now in the Prairie Creek area. That is solely because of the school...

I just have two words for you: Spring Valley. Look at what happened to Spring Valley. Those apartments at one time were vibrant. They were the cat's meow of Richardson--and we all know what happened there. We're getting too many apartments in a too confined area, we're going down the same road again and making the same mistake.

Bob Navarette:


I talk to friends who live in my nhood who live directly across teh street. I said, where'd you move from. They said Lake Highlands, and I said Lake Highlands is great--beautiful homes. They said, we can't send our kids to school in the Lake Highlands area.

Forest Meadow--commmonly known today as Forest Ghetto. You go there on a Saturday or a Sunday, great neighborhood, I want to move here. But during the school day it's unbelievable, because of the apartments, there's tons of apartments. Nothing against apartments, people have to live in the apartments, but when you have a whole bunch of them, and you've got a neighborhood that's a very very proud neighborhood...


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110 comments
dfwenigma
dfwenigma

I lived in Canyon Creek in the "condos" - I was an owner for nearly eight years. The crowd who lived in Canyon Creek looked their noses down at us - or worse. The condominums interestingly enough fetched some fairly decent prices and have since lost their luster. I moved on for various reasons. The Canyon Creek homeowners felt then - and many now - that anyone who didn't live in a freestanding home was suspiciously lacking in some way. I went to a homeowners meeting once - they were concerned about the "wrong element" then as now. And I suspect that if restrictive covenants that allowed racism could be enforced - they would enforce them in Canyon Creek. Though the average family there runs green rather than red, they tend to look with suspicion on the "wrong kind". Ironic in that yes indeed most of those people do send their children to private schools - and increasingly so. Richardson schools are showing their age and though they've refurbished them - realistically some of these buildings are approaching 50 years old. Good quality housing is not easy to find in Richardson and apartments - especially high end ones would be a huge boon. Only in snobby Canyon Creek would you find these kinds of attitudes.

d-may
d-may

It's a really interesting debate that cities have been struggling with for centuries. Single family homes and neighborhoods decline too. It's inevitable as infrastructure gets old. It's a fact of life in this world that nothing lasts forever. King Solomon himself struggled with this realization when he aged and watched as his great city did too. The typical design life span for infrastructure going back to Babylon is about 40-50 years.  

JPAndrews
JPAndrews

I'm not sure a concerned neighborhood doing homework and participating in the process of this project development can be construed as one with a "deep seated phobia of apartment dwellers".  Apartments would be new to the mix of this most single family owned neighborhood and doing homework and understanding the potential of the added tax base but the effect on neighborhood property is doing due diligence.  It may be better reading to spin it as negative but smart people doing homework is a good thing...boring maybe...but good nonetheless.

lolotehe
lolotehe

Wow, 86 comments, 86% of which are unreadable crap.

casiepierce
casiepierce

Stupid asses. Have they actually LOOKED around their fair town? They will most likely get a bunch of Indians and other Asians, who are way higher achievers than your average "good student" in Richardson-freaking-Texas.

GAA214
GAA214

Dear White Jesus of Nazareth,

I hope you know that Sunday Christians do not care about other peoples.  Earth is full of hypocrites

Sincerely, 

Blessed are the Meek. 

scerinjen3
scerinjen3

Rental property is like a stripper - at first she's pulling in big dough at Caberet Royale in Dallas but eventually she's headed for weekday afternoons at Bare Assets in Ardmore Oklahoma.  

WylieH
WylieH

While there is a lot of hyperbole and paranoia in some of those remarks, a couple of things ring true:

1)  renters, as a general rule, are less "invested" in their communities--- if things go to hell, they can just move on--- and their propensity to be there short term may contribute to why they are there in the first place at all.

2)  A high percentage of North Texas rental apartments are built as what I term "VLQ" (very low quality) structures.  They are designed to look great, but are built very cheaply and have a relatively short economic life--- in other words, after 10-15 years, they turn to crap- by design, because they weren't built to last.  At that point, the rents begin to decline, new types of tenants move in, and they turn, very quickly.

I think the best solution is two-fold:

1)  A healthy mix of for-sale and for-rent housing to encourage diverse, vibrant neighborhoods;

2)  More stringent construction standards that discourage the construction of "disposable" apartments that end up turning into slums by design.

JRGG
JRGG

Remember when the apartments at Spring Valley and Coit were nice? These days the folks in Northwood Hills are constantly dealing with the crime those apartments bring. However, to be fair to the other side of the argument, the home values have not decreased one bit due to those apartments. Regardless, if I lived in Canyon/Prairie Creek, I would try to stop the apartments, but if I lost the battle I wouldn't be that concerned. 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

these residents show their proclivity to discriminate but won't admit it.why is there an issue with rental units?

University Park has over 30% of its housing units rented, does UP have a problem with crime? with underperforming schools?

Plano has over 30% of its housing units rented. does Plano have a problem with crime? with underperforming schools?

The percentage of households that rent their housing instead of buying has been increasing and is forecast to continue increasing.

this is reality and these residents need to leave their bigotry behind.

ryan762
ryan762

I don't know. I look at the apartments I lived in twenty years ago (when they were already ten to fifteen years old), and they're still about the same as they were when they were built. They're still nice, the rental rates have increased about what you'd expect to keep them at the same level of luxury.

At what point are these apartments going to become ghettoized? (I've seen neighborhoods filled with houses that go downhill faster than the apartment complexes I've lived in during the course of my adult life).

unreadablecrap
unreadablecrap

Eric Nicholson & the Observer's "progressivism" is nothing more than a reality-ignoring, fact-denying faith-based cult.

They almost never deal with actual facts. They just post quotes like these, which are entirely correct, and then never argue against them, just expressing libtard outrage that someone stated the facts so plainly.

The entirety of their "progressive arguments" consists of snarky 8th grade girl crap like "Really? Ugh. I don't even... Wow, just wow".

Then they smugly imagine that they have won the argument, and feel good about themselves since they are so obviously morally superior.

JohnSmallBerries
JohnSmallBerries

@dfwenigma It is good to hear from experience. I agree with you about attitudes from Canyon Creek and Prairie Creek. I don't want to paint with a broad brush and not everyone is like that but that attitude is quite prevalent. I'll add that they look down their noses at other single family neighborhoods too so it is not just condo people. I will disagree with you that good quality housing is not easy to find. It may be hard to find because the good neighborhoods don't have much for sale. There is bad housing stock in Richardson but there is much more solid stuff that is decades old. The schools are also fine as well if they are in or very near Richardson itself but I will agree with you about the bad attitudes.

unreadablecrap
unreadablecrap

Jesus did not actually exist. Jesus is a fairy-tale for the weak-minded and for docile slaves. You don't even actually believe in Jesus either, so whatever point you thought you were making was a stupid one.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@WylieH Also, they could ask the developer to set up an escrow fund for maintenance and improvements.  That could be added to gradually, and help keep the values high.  That would be an asset for any future developers, and prove to be a financial wash.  For the rents they're asking, they have the margins to make it work.  Lack of imagination

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@WylieH 

you left out....

3) City code that requires property owners to maintain the structures, and concerted effort by City staff to enforce those standards.

unreadablecrap
unreadablecrap

Yes, there is absolutely no crime in Plano, especially none at any of the apartment complexes there.

dingo
dingo

@mavdog So we can all conclude that there is no problem with rental units now.

WylieH
WylieH

@ryan762 Depends how they are built and the stability of the neighborhood, overall.

unreadablecrap
unreadablecrap

"i've seen neighborhoods filled with houses that go downhill faster than the apartment complexes"

Oh yeah? Which neighborhoods, exactly? Name them.

JohnSmallBerries
JohnSmallBerries

@unreadablecrap sorry I deleted that.
I am trying to wrap my head around this: "They almost never deal with actual facts. They just post quotes like these, which are entirely correct, and then never argue against them."

So they don't deal with facts, and yet they post quotes which you admit are correct and thus the former and latter contradict each other. You call them libtards and yet then claim they posted said quotes (i.e. those things you labelled as "correct") without commentary. That makes to sense at all.

animas
animas

@scottindallas @WylieH Why not just avoid building crappy structures to begin with? ( Instead of trying to maintain a poorlly constructed piece of junk which will become an added burden to the community)?  Someone is making BIG MONEY at the expense of diligent tax payers.  Most likely it is a big developer from California or Florida.

animas
animas

@mavdog @WylieH Good luck with that.  The "landlords" are usually out of state and it takes court action to get their attention.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@unreadablecrap 

odd, the statement was "does Plano have a problem with crime". you read "absolutely no crime in Plano".

thanks for showing your reading comprehension inabilities. great job!

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@dingo 

if that is the conclusion your simple mind arrives at, goforit.

the point is rentals are not the issue, there are other factors which contribute to a high crime level.

blaming renters in a blanket fashion is a falacy.

ryan762
ryan762

@unreadablecrap I grew up in a different town, so you might not recognize them.

But okay. The Bonham Middle School area was run down by the '70s even though it was mostly built in the '60s. The Ridgecrest and City Park areas (built in the '70s and '80s) went downhill pretty quickly while the adjacent Windsor area (built in the '80s) has stayed the same.

The Puckett area (built mostly in the '70s) has remained about the same level, despite having more apartment complexes in it than other areas I've mentioned - City Park has no apartments at all, nor does Windsor).

That's all I can think of off the top of my head.

unreadablecrap
unreadablecrap

Reading comprehension, try it. I never said they don't post "commentary", obviously they do, duh.

Their "commentary" is just fact-free libtard outrage that someone dared to plainly state the actual facts.

They NEVER actually argue against any of the points made in the quotes above, they just express disbelief and "snarky progressive" outrage against the people making the factually correct statements.

Get it now? Or do I need to go over it again?

unreadablecrap
unreadablecrap

I don't actually expect you cultists to understand, since you are impervious to facts and logic.

animas
animas

And they get BIG TAX breaks too, at the expense of the community and local government.  DO appears vigilant about big business and harmful tax concessions except when it comes to developer leaches.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@animas @scottindallas @WylieH 

Because the rules are written by the lawyers that work for the developers, who just happen to be friends with (read: Donors to) the council-members that make zoning and code decisions that end up regulating what can and cannot be built so that they can put up a nice-looking but cheap structure that will attract a certain clientele that will make the property attractive to investors that will purchase the development at a tidy profit to the developer who will in turn be long gone (along with his council cronies) by the time the place begins to fall apart in a decade.

In short, this is known as IBG-YBG. (I'll Be Gone - You'll Be Gone) by the pols and developers.  It's what the system is designed to do because it was designed by the very people that exploit it to their own financial ends. They don't live in these neighborhoods.

dingo
dingo

@mavdog @dingo (1) I have a simple mind (2) additional factors indicate that a single factor is not an issue (3) non-existent assertion is wrong.

!*!* Bewildering Counter-Argument Fail Alert. *!*!

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@unreadablecrap 

you need to change your name, an accurate moniker for what you post is "unbelieveablecrap".....

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@unreadablecrap 

calling bullshit on you. where do you believe the apartment complexes are in Plano?

this should be good.....and fun. lots and lots of fun.

Phiznak
Phiznak

@unreadablecrap

Rest your head for awhile. 

You can rest easy! Believe it or not, most people can interpret news on their own.

unreadablecrap
unreadablecrap

Thanks for helping prove my point, since the map shows that most crimes in Plano happen in or around apartment complexes! This is too easy lol

unreadablecrap
unreadablecrap

You might enjoy checking out a Plano crime map. Then again you probably won't, since the facts contradict your naive faith-based dogma.

unreadablecrap
unreadablecrap

And what exactly changed about those neighborhoods in Garland?

Demographics is Destiny.

kfries1
kfries1

@ryan762 @unreadablecrap Another perspective:

The place I moved into in 1997 was already "old" at that point. This is at Preston & Belt Line. The buildings started having the usual maintenance issues that are expected but what supposedly took it down a notch or two was the Katrina disaster. I'd moved out west just before it occurred. When my job out west was done and went to move back to the same place I was told by the rental manager (a good friend!) to move to different properties as it was turned into a war zone due to low income refugees of Katrina. 

dalesmith2013
dalesmith2013

@unreadablecrap , read the garbage on Breitbart and CNS.  It makes the progressive sites look neutral.  Breitbart and CNS are examples of commentary disguised as reporting.  Fox News is getting like that, too.

Phiznak
Phiznak

@unreadablecrap 30+ comments on one blog in one day and it's not even 6 p.m., nice work! Have the rest of the day off, friend.


unreadablecrap
unreadablecrap

I don't take orders from naive white-guilt libtards like you.

Phiznak
Phiznak

Yeah that guy is wearing me out.

unreadablecrap
unreadablecrap

There was no "contradictory statement", and the fact that you think there was simply proves that you have terrible reading comprehension.

TexMarine
TexMarine

@JohnSmallBerries We're all still waiting on you to start your argument. There's a difference between arguing and being argumentative.

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