City Center

Thanks For Beginning To Inform The Citizens Of Cedar Hill What Is In Store For Them!

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/dallas/2013/06/28/cedar-hill-anticipates-major-transformation-by-2030

“You’ve got to get your plan organized and get your developers together,” Cedar Hill’s public relations manager said referring to City Center — the most ambitious project in the city’s history that aims to turn a large part of Cedar Hill into a walkable, transit-oriented development of retail, office and living space.”

“The idea for City Center has been around a while. Cedar Hill’s City Center Advisory Committee has been meeting since 2009.”

“We just started working on informing the community through surveys and social media, and then it will become more strategic — communicating through HOAs and things of that nature,” said CCAC member Maranda Auzenne, a 20-year resident of Cedar Hill who also is the general manager at Uptown Village, a 725,000 square-foot retail center that will serve as the northern start of City Center.

The city with its advisory committee geniuses is, unwittingly or not, and that is not difficult for some, worshipping at the altar of the great god MUTOD, which is being promulgated by the federal government through grants.  Many are under its spell.

MUTOD stands for mixed use, transit oriented development, buzz words for multi-family on top of retail and a transit system and no naturally growing trees.  

Who Is Doing the City’s Thinking For Them?

Well, There Are A Bunch Of Taxpayer Supported Consultants!

The 300 Apartments Approved On January 24, 2017 Are Just The Beginning.

Below Is The Trail Of Planning For the City Center.

Notice It Begins With A Train and then a
Dream Or Vision.

For Cedar Hill Taxpayers It Is A Nightmare​.

If you live east of Highway 67, you might well ask yourself, how is this City Center development going to benefit me.  How are infrastructure improvement bonds for Old Town helpful to me and my family?  Of interest to those who live east of Highway 67 is the table on page 20 shown below, extracted from the document, City Center Plan, Task A Deliverable: Project Mobilization and Existing Conditions, http://www.cedarhilltx.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/2112.

This List Of Plans Is Incomplete – There Are Many Other Documents With Similar Madness.

Going through the documents at http://www.cedarhilltx.com/2040/City-Center-Plan is very enlightening and a bit surrealistic.  It is a real education for anyone that wants to see how a MonstroCITY is developed.

Here is one of the very first documents to be produced as a result of visions of the city, staff, stakeholders, and consultants.  It was apparently produced in late 2009.  Dates of publication seem never to be included.  Its emphasis was Transit Oriented Development (TOD). 

http://www.cedarhilltx.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/2112

Extracted from the document above is this statement, which seems to be a slight modification of something else one sees printed on current agendas.

http://www.cedarhilltx.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/2112 page 26

And then “the group” was surveyed and Group 1 reported issues.  Below is the table of issues.  “Lack of connection to the Cedar Hill State Park” was tops with 47% of the votes.  Quite an odd outcome. 

Seems like activities east of Highway 67 are not nearly as important as connecting with the Cedar Hill State Park.  And where is the connection and how did the state park get into the mix?  Oddly enough there is a more than a million dollar project already funded to “connect” to the state park.  See Community Development Corporation menu item.

http://www.cedarhilltx.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/2112 page 20

One would have to read more of the document to get a sense of what is happening, if one can.  It is a rather strange and bewildering document.

Below is possibly the second of the documents with the city’s and outsider’s grandiose plans for the City of Cedar Hill.  This one predates the City Center Plan.  Extracted from the contents is

Vision Creation Process

 

A TOD Advisory Committee was formed to help guide the City Center planning process.  A broad spectrum of the community was represented on the Committee, who in turn brought individual opinions and values to the process. Meetings were held in the evenings at the Cedar Hill Government Center and were attended by the Advisory Committee, select Cedar Hill staff and elected officials, and the consultant team.

The first two TOD Advisory Committee meetings – on August 20, 2009 and September 3, 2009 – introduced participants to the concept of transit-oriented development, solicited their priorities for the new rail station, and crafted a vision for City Center.

Vision Statement, Goals and Objectives

The City Center Vision statement and accompanying set of Goals and Objectives were approved at the second public meeting held on September 3, 2009. They were refined by City staff before presentation to the Cedar Hill City Council on September 29, 2009, at which time they were officially adopted by resolution
http://cedarhilltx.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/2320

Below are words extracted from this early version of the City Center Plan shown above. Notice the multi-level buildings on the front of this report. Are these descriptors pleasing to you – intense and dense land uses, higher densities, apartments and townhouses, etc.?  Remember, these are official City of Cedar Hill documents.  They are not “fake” news!

“• Center. This district represents the most intense and dense land uses and constitutes the “core.” Development and redevelopment with the Center would include vertical mixed uses, higher densities/intensities, ground-level retail at or near the station, and upper story office and/or residential.
• General. This district supports and generally surrounds the Center uses. Features of the General type include mixed uses in generally low-rise buildings, moderate densities (apartments and townhomes) and intensities, ground-level retail and services, and upper story residential.
• Edge. The last district represents the transition uses as development moves away from the Center and General categories. The Edge district would include lower density residential uses with small lot single family houses and townhouses; support retail and services, and traditional town lot patterns.”

“The City Center Concept Diagram (Figure B.1) represents the physical expression of the Vision statement and Goals and Objectives and serves as a starting point for the next levels of plan development.”

http://cedarhilltx.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/2320

Above is what your city is going to look like unless you participate in the vote on May 6, 2017.  So what part will you live in – OLD TOWN, MIDTOWN, UPTOWN, or none of them?

The 300 apartment units, which were approved of by mayor and city council on January 24, 2017, will be located in the upper left of the figure in the triangular area bounded by Straus Road (left most boundary of the triangle) and FM 1382 (large roadway seen at the top of the triangle).

 These 300 apartment units are seed apartments and represent the first phase of the MonstroCity called the City Center. Notice the green rectangles. These rectangles are what is left of the cedar trees or are possibly plants of new trees. The large red line is the transit line, which is shown along Cedar Hill Road where there used to be a natural environment.

Below is the front page of another interesting document written by Smart Growth America.  Again, out-of-towners are planning Cedar Hill’s future. In attendance at this meeting were the North Central Texas Council of Governments, Smart Growth America, Clarion Associates, City of Cedar Hill Planning Department, and Councilperson Jami McCain, amongst others.

https://smartgrowthamerica.org/app/legacy/documents/next-steps-memo-nctcog.pdf

Extracted from the document are the comments below in quotes.  Seems like everyone was there but you, the private property owner taxpayer; and who was representing you? 

Was it the Planning Department?
Was it the mayor?
Was it Jami McCain?
Was it Clarion Associates, or maybe Smart Growth America, or NCTCOG, or maybe the “development community”?  And, who exactly is “the development community”?  So, how was this meeting public?

“On the evening of October 22, the SGA/Clarion team conducted a public meeting to explain the project and key issues that would be discussed at the workshop. About 24 people attended this public meeting, including mayor Rob Franke and city staff.”

“The full-day workshop took place on October 23, with a working group of about 15 people that included city and NCTCOG staff; representatives from the development community; U.S. EPA and FEMA staff; and Councilperson Jami McCain, who is a former member of the Cedar Hill Main Street Development and Preservation Board and lives in Old Town Cedar Hill. Mayor Franke joined the group for lunchtime discussions. Together the working group reviewed the code audit recommendations from the SGA/Clarion team.

Notice in more quotes below how some in the working group indicated there might be a need for residential uses.  Notice “city staff” discouraged such “horizontal”, meaning single story, in favor of vertical mixed use, meaning multi-story.  Staff likes mult-story buildings.  Hmmm! “Developers might resist because of the commercial market was still modest or weak.”​​

“The working group also discussed the issue of vertical versus horizontal mixed-use. Some supported the notion that the city should allow horizontal use mixing so that mixing would not be required in each building within the TOD area. While there are some distinct advantages to this approach (not the least of which is greater flexibility for developers), city staff cautioned that enforcing horizontal mixed use in a larger area over time might be challenging.”

 

“Developers might, for example, favor 100 percent residential uses in an early phase of TOD area development because, like now, there is significant residential demand and weaker commercial demand. However, in five to ten years when the city was pushing for more commercial in the area to pursue its mixed-use policy, developers might resist because the commercial market was still modest or weak. Enforcing the horizontal mixed-use requirement might then be problematic.”  This seems to imply the city would push on despite the economic conditions.  WOW! Your tax dollars at work!

Here is the mind of the group gathered to plan your future in Cedar Hill including Cedar Hill’s Planning Department, the mayor of Cedar Hill, and Ms. Jami McCain, a City of Cedar Hill councilperson.  The statement below says the group thinks it is best to leave you out of the process.  Apparently things will go smoother if those who pay the taxes are left out of determining how their tax money is spent and what their city looks  like!

“From a process perspective, the working group agreed that it would be highly preferable if design/compatibility requirements were handled administratively by staff or by a design review board made up of design professionals without a public hearing, as is done in the Centre City district in San Diego.”

City Center Development Plan (CCDP)
The coup de gras for the Cedar Hill private property owner taxpayer is described in the CCDP.  Below is the Executive Summary of a seven chapter City Center Plan, the culmination of city and outsiders dreaming for Cedar Hill. See City Center/Acknoledgment sub-menu item. The entire document is found on the city’s website at http://www.cedarhilltx.com/2040/City-Center-Plan.  
 
Chapter 2 is entitled “Vision”.  A more apt word could not be found.  As someone from TaxTown, do you recognize yourself as described below in the Executive Summary?  It is a fantasy world!  This is the future of Cedar Hill if the city and outside planners have their way.   By the way, is the public art graffiti?
City Center Development Code Assessment and Outline
Gee, here is another document from Denver.  This is probably one of the more devastating ones.  This one defines how to change the zoning codes.  There are four images shown  on the front page below.  Which ones represent what Denver Clarion is planning?  Actually only two.  There is the train one.  And there are some apartments somewhere.  The rest do not represent what they intend the city to look like.  But, they certainly look good on the report. The documents are getting more and more up to date.  This one is dated July 2016.  
 
So, you could have gone to this presentation if you were constantly checking the city’s website at 
However, the majority of the citizens are not, and falsely trust the city leadership not to be doing anything the citizens would not approve of. Well, it is time not to trust them anymore.  This is how the announcement appears at the site linked above.
 Latest News

“August 18, 2016, Presentation of City Center Development Code Assessment and Outline”

“At 6:00 PM, August 18th in the Multi-Purpose Room at the Cedar Hill Government Center, Clarion, the consultants hired by the city to help draft new zoning regulations that will implement the concepts contained in the City Center Development Plan, will present their findings of their site visit.  Please fill free to download a copy of this report.”

 This new plan describes making zoning changes to the original 2010 plan to increase “high density” rental housing because the 2010 plan was too “suburban,” and not “urban” enough.  According to the 2016 document, Cedar Hill needs to become even more “high density,” and more “high intensity,” than called for in the original 2010 plan.  The 2016 plan calls for rezoning which will allow thousands of renters within minutes walking distance of a planned rail that would go to north to Red Bird Lane, terminating at Westmoreland Ave in Dallas, and go south to Midlothian. (Red Line Rail Map, p5, http://www.cedarhilltx.com/DocumentCenter/View/8234  )
The problem is the future Red Line Rail is in a 2030 NCTCOG Mobility 2030 plan!
http://www.cedarhilltx.com/DocumentCenter/View/22888 http://www.cedarhilltx.com/2040/City-Center-Plan

Did They Interview You?

“April 7&8, 2016, Clarion conducts site visit and interview”

“Clarion, the consultants hired by the city to help draft new zoning regulations, conducted a site visit where they met with the city project managers, staff, and other officials to discuss overall project goals and to finalize the project work plan and schedule.  The team also facilitated intensive discussions of zoning and land development issues with city staff, elected and appointed officials, Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC), other boards and commissions, and key stakeholders (e.g. developers, neighborhood groups, realtors, etc.) to get a clear understanding of how the community desires the new districts to be developed. http://www.cedarhilltx.com/2040/City-Center-Plan
 
Below is an excerpt from the document:
“2.  Key Recommendations for the City Center Development Code
A. Establish New Zone Districts
Overview of Suggested New Zoning Districts

The CCDP and the preceding Vision Plan were the result of extensive community outreach, staff review, and consultant input.  As a result, for purposes of this Assessment, we assume that the five land use concept areas described in Chapter 4.0 of the CCDP accurately represent the community’s preferred land use designations.  We propose establishing new base zoning districts to implement those land use concept areas, as listed in the table below.  We further assume that the locations and boundaries of these new districts will generally match those presented on Map 14 of the CCDP, which is reproduced on the following page.  This map is expected to form the basis of a new zoning map for City Center.  However, it is important to note that, while these new districts will provide the general toolbox for rezoning the City Center area, the actual boundaries of the new districts may change from the boundaries proposed in the CCDP. The actual zoning map will be fine-tuned throughout the drafting process based on conversations with City officials, property owners, and other stakeholders. Ultimately, the new map will be adopted as part of the City’s Official Zoning Map.”  (Font size increase added for emphasis.)
1) Did Clarion or the city reach out to you, taxpayer?
2) Did you, as a part of the “community” approve the assumed land use designations?
3) Where are these properties?
4) Who owns them?
5) How do those who own them benefit from the MonstroCity development? 6) Is their property infrastructure being developed at Cedar Hill taxpayer expense, via bonds, so the property can be sold to developers at a handsome price?
These are questions one should ask the “property owners” and “stakeholders”, whoever they are.


Below is Map 14, page 40, out of the City Center Development Plan which shows the boundaries of the MonstroCity.  It is even more red than the map from the 2010 City Center Vision Plan shown in this City Center page.
Actually if one reads the legend, every area, from dark yellow up to dark red starts with “Urban”.   So all the dark yellow, the orange, the red, and the dark red are some type of urban development.

Map 14: Land Use and Urban Form Concept Plan http://cedarhilltx.com/2040/City-Center-Plan Chapter 4 City Center Development Plan; page 40

All of the City Center plans mention transit oriented development (TOD) meaning the expectation is for the plans to be fulfilled, there must be a transit line.  However, the TOD part seems to be a moot point for the immediate future since according to one of the city’s consultants, Smart Growth America,  “Additionally, while it is likely it will be ten to twenty years before Cedar Hill sees a transit station within its jurisdiction, a major mixed-use project with over 300 units has recently been developed close to the potential Midtown transit station site. This new development indicates a market for other such mixed-use projects in the community.” And presumably they are talking about MidTown at Cedar Hill apartments which have not been all of that successful as “mixed use”.  This seems like a circular argument.
 
https://smartgrowthamerica.org/app/legacy/documents/next-steps-memo-nctcog.pdf

Finally, below is a map which was a part of the public hearing where the announcement is shown in the agenda of December 13, 2016 and seen just above the map.  At this public hearing the mayor’s new TIF-Zone-for-a purpose was passed.  It coincides with the city center boundaries.   See TIF page menu item.
 
The significance of the map is that it shows all of the individual property boundaries within the City Center, all 606 parcels.  Some properties are owned by those who have significant influence over the development of the City Center and others by those who promote it vigorously.  Intentionally or not, these individuals stand to gain financially from having properties within the City Center where major infrastructure improvements will be made at Cedar Hill Taxpayer expense. Some properties have been purchased in an ongoing fashion, both prior to the planning, and during the planning of the city center.  
 
It is possible to take such a map and expand property shapes within the City Center and correlate property shapes with ownership simply by using the Dallas Central Appraisal District (DCAD) mapping function.  Ownership by business or personal address can be found in the DCAD.  Then the map of the property can be correlated with the property shape on the City Center map below.   For those curious enough this would be an eye opening exercise.
 

THE TIF

And finally if one wants to know what motivates and pays for all of the planning for urbanizing America, where the city of Cedar Hill is headed toward, look no further than the City Center Development plan and the federal government and local pseudo-government funding. Here is a quote from the City Center Development Plan, http://www.cedarhilltx.com/DocumentCenter/View/16621, Chapter 1, pages 2 and 3.  This is a history lesson.

“In May 2009, the City was presented with a unique funding opportunity that allowed the City to tackle development challenges. The Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program was rolled out as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), with the goal of assisting U.S. cities, counties, states, territories, and Indian tribes to develop, promote, implement, and manage energe efficiency and conservation projects and programs designed to:
▪ Reduce fossil fuel emissions
▪ Reduce the total energy use
▪ Improve energy efficiency in the transportation, building, and other appropriate sectors
▪Create and retain jobs

To take the Comprehensive Plan framework for TOD to the next level of detail, Cedar Hill applied for and secured an Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) from the U.S. Department of Energy. The City allocated nearly 60 percent of its $176,000 EECBG funds towards the preparation of the City Center Concept Plan. As a means of securing a rail station, encouraging a walkable TOD, reducing vehicle miles traveled, lowering greenhouse gases, and lessening energy demand, the City retained a consultant team to work with staff, elected officials, and a TOD Advisory Committee to prepare a Vision statement, a set of Goals and Objectives for the City Center transformation, a Concept Diagram that visually expressed the desired direction for development, and a visioning plan that includes a series of preliminary concept plans for land use and urban form, mobility, street and block, and public spaces. This resulted in the Vision Plan.”

What a sentence!  Remember the vision plan at the top of this page?

To help advance the Vision Plan, the City applied to NCTCOG (North Central Texas Council of Governments) for a Sustainable Development Funding Program grant in October 2009. The NCTCOG application was submitted with strong community support. In addition to the approval of the TOD Advisory Committee, the Cedar Hill City Council issued a resolution of support for the Vision, Goals and Objectives, and Concept Diagram submitted with the application. Letters of endorsement were submitted by the Cedar Hill Main Street Development and Preservation Board, the Cedar Hill Community Development Corporation, the MG Herring Group, Sandler Southwest Corporation, Northwood University, and the Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center at Cedar Hill.  The City was successful in obtaining a grant to allocate $156,250 towards the creation of this Development Plan. The Development Plan further engaged the community and stakeholders, worked with a consultant team and advisory committee to refine the Vision Plan, identified market potentials to create development strategies and implementable programs to enact the City Center Vision Plan.

This goes on and on.  With outside funding from the federal government and North Central Council of Governments, the goal of the New Urbanist movement is to put everyone in small living units to save energy and to make people travel by train for the same purpose to save energy!  This is the intent of the City Center planning, and the city of Cedar Hill has taken the bait, and the consultants the money!