According to new District 3 City Plan Commissioner Mike Anglin, former plan commissioner Clarence Gary decided to step down this year after serving in the position since 2003, and when he did, Councilman Dave Neumann asked Anglin if he would move from his position as park board member to plan commissioner.
For years Anglin chaired the Oak Cliff Gateway TIF board, a position to which Laura Miller had appointed him when she was mayor. When Neumann was first elected two years ago, he asked Anglin if he would consider moving over to the park board. "I had never thought of it before, but I’m so happy he did," Anglin says. "I learned a lot about the city and ongoing projects still being implemented from the 2003 and 2006 bond issues. I loved it — we have such a vibrant park system."
Becoming a plan commissioner will require "a learning curve," he says, but Anglin has practiced law in Dallas for 33 years and believes that will help him some of the technical aspects. I asked Anglin his thoughts on some of the big issues on the horizon for Oak Cliff — the possibility of rezoning land all along Bishop Avenue and Davis Street, the Oak Cliff Gateway rezoning proposal (related to but not the same as the Oak Cliff Gateway TIF board Anglin chaired) — and he says he doesn’t have any firm positions on those issues right now. (In fact, he told me he was spending this morning meeting with a landowner and proponent of one zoning issue along with neighbors who are opposed to the rezoning, though he wouldn’t specify what the issue is.) But he did share his overall philosophy and approach to zoning issues, which you can read after the jump:
"Change is hard for anyone," Anglin told me. "That’s really sort of what the city plan commission job is all about — trying to manage rational, reasonable, progressive change in an area of the city without destabilizing the neighborhood, and in a sense doing harm to the very things that make us strong. Anglin, a Kessler resident, says he is a "huge neighborhood advocate," and has been involved in his neighborhood association for years.
"I think everyone agrees that we want to avoid change that is destabilizing or that weakens a sense of comminuty or alters a neighborhood’s character, if the neighborhood wants to keep that character," Anglin continues. "On the other hand, there’s the need of a city to bloom and to continue to develop and grow and adapt to changing circumstances, and expand the value of real estate assets as well. Balance is the big word."
Of course, the problem, as Anglin readily admits, is that people disagree on what that balance looks like, and how it should be achieved. But, he says, "if everyone can work togehter in good-spirited debate but also respect each other’s positions, we can get through it and have a better city in the end."
So he’s definitely a mediating, peace-making type. That should come in handy in a neighborhood facing lots of big decisions about land use changes, and where residents’ opinions range the gamut.