Oak Cliff Gateway: What to do about Lake Cliff

One of the questions posed to neighbors at the recent Oak Cliff Gateway meeting was: What happens to Lake Cliff amid all the rezoning near the Trinity River?

The neighborhood, which was an amusement park in its early days, and David Whitley of the city’s Trinity River Corridor Project essentially was asking the audience how Lake Cliff’s historical buildings should be treated, given that much of the new zoning will allow for a lot of height and a lot of density. (You can now see maps of the proposal in this slideshow of the presentation, or download the PDF file.)

Whitley’s suggested that new zoning could allow for different uses in the historical homes along Marsalis (reuse as an attorney’s office, etc.) to make that street a buffer between the single-family residences of Lake Cliff and the proposed high-density mixed-use zoning to the east. Hear what neighbors had to say about that after the jump:
Oak Cliff Chamber president Bob Stimson stood up to give his opinion in his typically colorful manner (and you’ll want to listen to the Advocate Radio podcast coming soon with Stimson and Whitley talking about the gateway). One of his thoughts was that there is a "pretty strong consensus from Lake Cliff people that the area to the east, with the exception of the Marsalis corridor, should be as high as they want to build it … to make the area so attractive that somebody would come and buy those nasty, ugly, god-awful places so that we can get rid of some of those war zones over there."

Another neighbor brought up the fact that Colorado and Eighth Street are exits off of I-35 that could bring people into the neighborhood, "so all of that area needs to be redeveloped. When people on the freeway see run-down, crummy sites, they’re afraid to venture into those neighborhoods." Anyone driving along I-35 needs to "see a well-preserved, lovely area," she said.

As to the historical quality of the homes, Neil Whitlock, who has lived in artist Frank Reaugh‘s former home, El Sibil, for more than 20 years, had something to say about that. "There’s a big difference between a historical house and an apartment complex that is run down," he said, citing drug houses next door, drugs coming out of the apartment complex across the street, and drugs on Sixth Street, though "now not as prevalent as it was in the past." Whitlock’s home is a Texas Historic Landmark, and "I can’t put a tree on my property without going to the zoning committee," he said, adding that not all homes in Lake Cliff should require those kinds of strict guidelines. "Yes it’s historical," he said of his neighborhood, "but the individual places are not neccessarily historical."


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