It has been hailed as a victory by almost all Grapevine residents. A multifamily apartment development that was slated to displace a current mobile home park and its residents was denied by the Grapevine City Council and the Planning & Zoning board on Tuesday, October 15. The reason for the denial? The P&Z board stated it was due to the density and the traffic challenges of the project.
We know it was also because residents spoke out, loudly, in opposition.
There were more than 75 in attendance at the city council meeting, with 21 people speaking, and only 2 were in favor of the project. Board members acknowledged that this groundswell of vocal opposition was a significant factor in their decision.
But this is somewhat of a bittersweet victory. While we were able to stop the developer, who asked for just about every exception one could think of (exceeding density limitations, parking allowances, height limits, reduced green space, and deviating from design requirements), we are still left with a mobile home park owned by a slumlord. The owner is taking advantage of the low to very-low-income tenants, those here legally and illegally.
The fact that the park is allowed to exist in its present state is a little baffling. The park may be old and unsightly, but the bigger concern is the safety and health of the residents.
We stopped the new problems that would have come with the poorly planned development, and now the next step must be to find out what can be done about the existing issues. Can the city do more? Who has the authority to make the needed changes? We can only find solutions by asking the questions and pursuing the answers. Our work is not done.
Cynics may say that there was something in the deal that made it unattractive to the board and council, so they voted “no” based on that and not on the citizens’ input. I choose to believe that city governments can listen to their residents, but only if we are speaking. It happened last Tuesday, and it can happen much more if we are determined to pursue victory!
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