Several hundred people showed up Wednesday night to express opposition over a plan to sell the former Oak Cliff Country Club to a housing developer.
Huffines Communities has the 63-year-old course, now called Golf Club of Dallas, under contract. In a meeting with the city’s Red Bird Advisory Board two weeks ago, Huffines representatives presented a plan to build as many as 500 houses on the 150-acre property.
In a meeting with neighbors at the club Wednesday, Donald Huffines said his company has not yet made any plans for the property.
Hundreds of Oak Cliff neighbors, which included former Dallas Cowboys player and civil rights activist Pettis Norman, County Commissioner John Wiley Price and Dallas ISD trustee Joyce Foreman, filled the club’s banquet room. Many who arrived around the 6:30 p.m. start couldn’t squeeze in. Most made it clear that they don’t want the club to be redeveloped at all; they want it to remain a golf course.
But the privately held club is on the market.
“If it’s not me, it’s someone else. If it’s not them, it’s someone else,” Huffines told the crowd. “Someone’s going to buy this property.”
The property already is zoned for single-family residential, so demolishing it and building houses there would not require any rezoning.
“We don’t build cookie-cutter communities,” he said.
Neighbors became impatient during the presentation, and at one point Huffines, who is a Texas state senator, told the grumbling crowd “come on guys, that is just really rude.”
At another point, he told the crowd, “You’ve made it clear to me that you don’t want any kind of a nice community here.” That comment caused an eruption of groans and shouts.
“What you can’t do is come into our community and disrespect us … you cannot talk to these people any way you want,” Foreman told him.
City Councilman Casey Thomas, who hosted the meeting, said that the city is “looking at the feasibility” of purchasing the club, which is assessed for tax purposes at around $2.2 million, and making it a municipal course.
Neighbors noted that they’ve had no nearby grocery store since Sack N Save on Red Bird Lane at Hampton Road closed more than 10 years ago. Commercial property in the area is underutilized, and there aren’t enough jobs.
“We have a lot more to think about than big houses when there are no jobs,” one neighbor told Huffines.
The meeting lasted for more than two hours, and Thomas has plans to meet in the next week with neighborhood association presidents.
One neighbor noted that if everyone who showed up to the meeting Wednesday bought a $300 a month golf membership, maybe the club wouldn’t have to be sold.