In case you haven’t heard, the City Council voted unanimously to allow smaller lot sizes in the Brookhollow area. Incidentally – I’ll bet the term “The Farmers Branch City Council voted unanimously” is the most-used phrase in city government. Makes you think of a monster with 6 bodies, 12 arms and legs,  12 eyes and (closed) ears, but just one mouth and one small, closed mind. But I digress.

Here’s the rezoning story according to the Farmers Branch Forum:

Subject: Brookhollow Neighborhood Rezoning
At the Farmers Branch City Council meeting held on Tuesday, November 17, the Council acted on a request to rezone part of the Brookhollow neighborhood.  Many neighbors made a very professional and reasoned argument against the request.  The council had plenty of reasons to vote against it too, but not one councilperson could find a reason to side with the neighbors.  They decided to show their complete disregard for the wishes of current taxpaying residents by voting unanimously to grant the rezoning.   

We believe this vote against the neighborhood sets a precedent not only for the Brookhollow neighborhood, but for the whole city.   With the Mayor and Council planning to cover the Albertson’s site with apartments, those of us who want to retain the small town character of residential Farmers Branch must fight back.

Brookhollow is the area southeast of Webb Chapel and Valley View that has the large lots and very country feel.  It was developed in the late 1940’s and didn’t get its current R-1 zoning until the 1960’s.  That zoning put in place the standards already in the neighborhood and designated lots to be 1 acre or more unless they were already in existence.   

The request was to divide a 1.4 acre lot into two .7 acre lots.  Although the minimum setbacks would match the current zoning, the backyards of these lots would be much smaller than those in the neighborhood, and the look would be more suburban.  One point that was missed was the fact that once the rezoning is in place, the rezoned property is much more valuable.  There are no guarantees that one lot won’t be sold off for even more profit- or that both lots won’t be sold to a developer of spec houses.  The financial benefit to goes to the owner of the rezoned property while the neighbors get a development that could degrade their property values.

Because 88% of the neighbors within 200 feet of the property objected to the rezoning, the Council needed a super majority of 4 votes to pass the rezoning.  Instead of listening to wishes of the residents who live there, the Council displayed their bias toward McMansions and “Frisco” style development and voted for the rezoning.  It appears “the will of the people” is only acted on when the Council finds it convenient.
Branch Forum, Sharon Shields, Treasurer, 12801 Epps Field Road, Farmers Branch, TX 75234

I am probably one of the very few Farmers Branch citizens who is relieved to see the dismantling of that area and I’ll tell you why:

……………. Lost Valley Lane.

Yep, that’s right. When I moved to Farmers Branch in the early ’80’s I loved to drive through the Brookhollow neighborhood. The homes reminded me of country estates – as close as I would ever get to living on Strait Lane (in the Preston Hollow area of Dallas). Oh – I fell in love with the area, but most of all with Lost Valley Lane. A home on a large private lot with this romantic-sounding address was my idea of being in paradise. Imagine living in a country setting tucked away in the middle of a sprawling metropolis: giant trees on gorgeous huge lots, tons of privacy, peaceful and isolated, but still close to city amenities. Pure-dee heaven on earth.

Every once in a while I would wander around the streets in the Brookhollow area and lust after these homes. Oh – how I would love to live there. But college, kids, layoffs, and reality interfered and I had to be content with only my dreams.

Now, thanks to the Farmers Branch City Council, I no longer envy the residents in that neighborhood. To the contrary – I pity them, and I am so glad that I didn’t succumb to Lost Valley Lane’s siren song. Just think – if I had sacrificed to purchase a country estate there I would now be faced with being smack dab in the middle of a proposed Frisco housing development. Then I could look up during my backyard pool party to see my neighbor’s kid’s peering into my yard from their second story playroom. I could have people living right next to me, with their McMansions hanging over my home.

  • No more country estate.
  • Goodbye privacy.
  • Paradise Lost.

Not content with just trespassing on your property, Farmers Branch decides to use the tax payer’s money for something more “awesome”.

In fact, this latest rezoning decision has enabled the creation of lots that are comparable to where I am now, except we don’t have the McMansions – yet. So, the City Council has relieved me of years of wishing and hoping and dreaming about living on a country estate on Lost Valley Lane.

Way to go, guys. Thanks

Seriously – To the Country Squires now living in Brookhollow, and especially those on Lost Valley Lane – I am truly sorry.

Note: In response to Sue (in comments) I’ve edited this post to dispel any idea that I really am glad to see that beautiful neighborhood and the people living there treated with such disrespect. The Brookhollow area is one of the most delightful highlights of Farmers Branch and I hate to think that it could be on it’s way to being just another Frisco-type housing district. That’s not what most of us wanted when we bought in Farmer’s Branch and it makes me sad to think that our friendly little city will be just another display of rows upon rows of boring, sterile, generic McMansions.

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