Update: The City Council hearing for this case has been postponed to April 8.
A pocket neighborhood with 42 high-end homes, six townhomes and three apartments could begin taking shape this year on the west side of Hampton Road just south of Stevens Park golf course if City Council approves a zoning change.
However, that’s a big “if.”
Emotions have run high on neighborhood online forums. A neighbor who lives close to the proposed project, filmmaker Kirby Warnock, posted a video to youtube (and sent it to the media) in response to the proposal. The video protests the project and makes some personal attacks on developer Christian Chernock. So, in a battle between two guys with oddly similar surnames, Chernock’s attorney asked Warnock to make correct some factual errors in the video. But instead, Warnock made another video.
The plan calls for LEED certified homes priced in the $500,000 range. Why are neighbors so mad about that?
At first they were angry because they say Chernock set his plan into motion before letting them know anything about it. They felt they were left in the dark by a developer who was being “sneaky.” Since then, Chernock says he has done everything he can to answer questions and modify his plans based on neighbors’ input.
The Old Oak Cliff Conservation League, after a meeting with adjacent neighbors at which Chernock was not present, wrote a letter opposing the plan.
The proposed spot rezoning and high-density development disrupts successful and deep-rooted residential patterns. It turns its back away from the existing neighborhoods, segregating itself both visually and functionally. In addition, the developer intends to erect fencing surrounding the property, including a 4-foot high fence along Hampton. This fencing would effectively bisect the block, disrupting the prevailing architectural pattern and negatively impacting the views of surrounding residents.
The league also opposes the proposed development’s 25-foot setbacks. Most homes on that stretch of Hampton, between Plymouth and Jefferson, have setbacks of between 85-160 feet.
While the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League frequently succeeds in swaying City Plan Commissioners and City Council members, Chernock’s Kessler Commons plan made it through the planning commission largely because of commissioner Mike Anglin, who voted in favor of the plan.
Anglin said he received many emails from neighbors who opposed the plan but also appeared to be sorely misinformed about it.
“Some of the letters that we get simply talk about this as if it was an apartments complex, calling it an apartment complex; they just don’t understand whats going on here,” Anglin said during a hearing on the project earlier this month.
The development is planned to have three apartments, which would be owned by the homeowners association and could be used for income instead of HOA fees.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of apartments and townhomes.