by Linda Crim [Email address: lscrim #AT# aol.com - replace #AT# with @ ]

I live in north Allandale where the houses are large with concrete slabs, privacy fences, and big back yards, and are closer to Far West, the Domain and the Arboretum than they are to the homes and businesses in southern Allandale.

I am not in favor of special interest groups who are not elected by us petitioning the City Council. They have access on the highest level to our elected politicians and the news media. I disapprove of the special interest groups using words that emotionalize people and issues – words like family, child, bars and sustainability.

I am in favor of development of Burnet Road and the other traffic corridors to the neighborhoods. Allandale is not Mayberry anymore. When housing prices run over $400,000 for a home and the property taxes are over $7,000 a year, we are no longer attracting the same young family with children demographic as in the past. We are attracting people like me who are well paid professionals who have no children living at home and who no longer want to spend hours on MoPac each day – the same market as the proposed new townhomes and condos will attract. Basically, we have created our own vicious cycle. The townhomes and condos will only come here because of the high housing prices for the neighborhood.

Development is all about location –  what is nearby and where are the traffic corridors? Developers are those folks who borrow millions of dollars to buy run-down or abandoned space on Burnet and turn it into lively, modern
tax-generating space. The new taxable spaces will generate sales taxes and school taxes. These developers are taking all the risk and removing eyesores, curbless streets and dangling power lines. They are also supporting the tree program and watering trees up and down Burnet.

Developers spend money putting in amenities that neighborhood associations ask for, like walking paths and sidewalks. Developers spend money putting in “affordable” housing units that cities ask for. Developers have to make a profit to pay the millions back that they borrow. Good restaurants now have over a million dollars in “finish out.”

There is a lot of talk about building “child friendly.” I do not consider the new developments going up as not child friendly. The current run-down businesses, for instance the Poodle Dog Lounge, are the detriment. The new envisioned businesses are clean and modern and appeal to those who seek the amenities that they bring. Not every place with a liquor license is a bar or non-child friendly. Even HEB has a liquor license.

There is a lot of talk by special interest groups comparing Allandale to South Congress. SoCo is a major tourist destination because of its proximity to downtown. Burnet is not close enough to downtown. There will never be as many businesses selling liquor on Burnet as on SoCo because they just won’t make money. Diversity of business in the area is what makes money and that is what will happen on Burnet.

I look forward to the day that the Chuck E. Cheese’s property has been redeveloped. I look forward to Dallas Nightclub being demolished for a retail / condo center. I will miss the Kolache Shoppe and hope they can find reasonable space in one of the new retail spaces.

Right now, I own a house. But I’m pretty sure that with the rapidly escalating property values in Allandale that I won’t be able to afford the future taxes on this house at retirement. Will a smaller apartment or condo or townhouse on Burnet Road above a restaurant or retail center be in in my future? Possibly.