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Dallas commission delays zoning-change..


..decision for O.M. Roberts

BY: Matthew Hagg

The City Plan Commission delayed Dallas ISD’s request Thursday to move forward with building a new school and parking lot where Jubilee Park residents fought the district’s efforts to seize their homes.

Commissioners voted to deny the district’s request because of a technical error in the application, which, if fixed, can come before the planning commission again in a month. The decision came after several Jubilee Park residents begged commissioners to keep the district from building the parking lot, which would replace six home sites the district purchased across from O.M. Roberts Elementary School.

“We are a community and neighborhood, and we want to stay that way,” said Norma Hernandez, whose parents live next to the proposed parking lot. “Communities exist of homes and not parking lots.”

Commissioner Sally Wolfish cautioned the residents not to take Thursday’s vote as a victory. “It’s being denied because of an error in the posting and not because of the merits of the case,” she said.

If the commission approves the proposal in a month and sends it to the City Council for approval, it would pave the way for the district to build a larger school on six acres on Grand Avenue between Interstate 30 and Fair Park. The new school will hold about 300 students more than the old one and will occupy the land of the former school and a neighboring carwash that DISD purchased.

A 114-space parking lot for school faculty has been proposed across the street on Philip Avenue, where the district purchased six homes. Seven additional home sites purchased by DISD among nearby houses are expected to become grassy geothermal fields to heat and cool the school.

Karl Crawley, who represented the school district, told commissioners that DISD has made concessions to the residents and tried not to disrupt the community.

“These lots were not taken through eminent domain. They were purchased through an agreed price,” he said. “We would have loved to have a better design, but this is what we have today.”

Crawley said the district would be willing to add fences around the parking lot and geothermal fields.

Jubilee Park residents have criticized DISD for not being forthcoming about construction plans for the area and accused the district of not paying fair amounts for some homes

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