Dallas, Texas – In a final act of defiance against local dissent, the multi-tiered housing development, Cypress Creek at Forest Lane, has been greenlit for construction on an unoccupied piece of land in the Lake Highlands region, thus overcoming repeated attempts to scupper the venture.
The earmarked site, a 2.85-acre plot situated at 11520 N. Central Expressway, is poised to undergo a significant transformation. Plans are in motion to erect a four-story, midrise apartment edifice complete with a comprehensive parking facility.
The proposal outlines a total of 189 residential units, augmented by a coworking space and a dog park. A substantial portion of these residences, specifically 100 units, will be set aside for low-income households earning between 30% and 80% of the region’s average income.
Following a June 14 assembly, the Dallas City Council approved a decree allowing the city to enter into a nearly four-decade lease with the developers of Cypress Creek at Forest Lane. This contract paves the way for the construction and subsequent operation of the proposed apartment complex.
District 10 City Council Member Adam McGough’s final attempts to derail or at least postpone the project, were ultimately unsuccessful. The June 14 council meeting marked the end of McGough’s tenure as the Lake Highlands representative, due to his reaching the term limit. Both he and fellow council members Casey Thomas and Cara Mendelsohn were united in opposition to the development.
McGough’s successor, Kathy Stewart, expressed similar sentiments in an interview with Community Impact, openly voicing her disapproval for the Cypress Creek at Forest Lane development.
The project, initially brought before the City Council in 2021, has been beset by a multitude of challenges. Predominant amongst these were the deed restrictions, which dictated that only office buildings, hotels, motels, and restaurants could be erected on the proposed site. However, in a strategic move in May, the City Council opted to acquire the vacant land, intending to lease it to the developer Sycamore Strategies to facilitate the embattled housing project.
Justifying his position, McGough invoked the almost universal community opposition, impending litigation threats against the city, and the geographical location of the project site as reasons for not supporting the Cypress Creek at Forest Lane venture. He asserted that the area is ill-suited for children commuting to school and criticized the lack of safe public transport and easily accessible grocery stores.
Rebutting allegations of “NIMBY-ism” (Not In My Backyard), McGough asserted that his opposition to the Cypress Creek at Forest Lane project did not indicate a broader rejection of affordable housing. He pointed to his recent endorsement of other budget-friendly housing initiatives within his jurisdiction, such as the St. Jude Center Vantage Point, as evidence to this effect.
William Roth, proprietor of a commercial edifice adjacent to the contentious site, warned of impending legal action against the city, alleging violation of deed restrictions should the project proceed. Roth, alongside other proximate property owners, had brandished the threat of litigation previously. However, the City Attorney asserted that such threats would not factor into the City Council’s decision-making process concerning project approval.
The city’s engagement in this project, as per Assistant City Manager Majed Al-Ghafry’s memo, would render the deed restrictions on the property unenforceable.
Advocates of the Cypress Creek at Forest Lane development argue that the project is poised to fulfill a dire need for affordable housing within a “high-opportunity” zone. According to the Dallas City Hall website, these zones are identified as regions within Dallas where the poverty rate is capped at 20% or less, as indicated by census tract data.
David Noguera, who helms Dallas’ Department of Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization, stated during the meeting that the site was originally selected due to its proximity to a myriad of amenities. The plot is advantageously situated near a host of retail services, high-achieving schools, and a Dallas Area Rapid Transit station within a quarter-mile radius.
In the midst of the discussion, Mayor Pro Tem Carolyn King Arnold acknowledged McGough’s safety reservations, noting that these challenges mirrored those of any underserviced community. Nonetheless, she argued that the advantages of providing affordable housing for low-income inhabitants eclipsed the potential risks, including the looming specter of legal action.