April 19


High-stakes deals at Council

Illustration by Jeremiah TeutschIllustration by Jeremiah TeutschAt last week’s PR celebration of a deal between Walmart and the Northwest Side communities that surround its future location next to Hardberger Park, the many stakeholders presented an enthusiastically united front. It was a remarkable achievement because the lineup indicated how complicated the negotiations had been since District 9 Councilwoman Elisa Chan initiated a down-zoning of the property in February: A neighborhood coalition president, a neighborhood association attorney, the lawyer representing the family that owns the land, the park’s eponymous creator, and the retail steamroller all took a turn at the mic. The praise for one another, and the agreement, seemed genuine.

And Chan had forged an impressive compromise: more than 17 acres of greenspace preserved and added to the park’s account, deep tree-filled buffers between the store and the neighborhood, deed restrictions that will limit the type of businesses that can operate on the tract, and a half-million dollars for the park conservancy.

Next weekend, there will be a gathering of stakeholders in this spring’s other high-profile zoning dispute – the District 3 fight to save the Pecan Valley Golf Course – but it’s much more likely to be a last stand than a truce party.

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