University Park City Council Approves YMCA Ordinance

The University Park City Council knew Tuesday’s YMCA vote was everyone’s top concern. Residents of all ages filled every seat. Boy Scouts standing up to give their introductions lost chairs to last-minute attendees. A request for guidance over the Y decision even dominated the opening prayer. It was no light matter.

“It’s taken a long process to get through this,” Councilman Thomas Stewart said.

Mayor W. Richard Davis made it clear that the meeting was not a public hearing. It was simply time to vote. The council unanimously passed the 17-page ordinance draft, which had been updated Friday following a special meeting.

In that meeting, the council decided not to recommend a realignment of the Preston Road and Normandy Avenue intersection. Instead, minor tweaks were made to accommodate First Unitarian Church of Dallas parking on Sundays and certain holidays.

“I would like to congratulate both the neighbors and the Y for making this happen,” Councilman Bob Begert said. “I hope you’ve felt like we’ve listened to all sides, because I promise you we have.”

Following the council’s vote, Mayor Davis explained, the YMCA must present a final, detailed site plan for the council’s review. If that is approved, construction could begin on the 58,500-square-foot facility and its underground parking garage. No solid time estimate was given.

“When we started this process, [Councilwoman] Dawn [Moore] was new to the council, and the rest of us had dark hair,” Mayor Pro Tem Bob Clark joked.

But not all residents were happy with the compromises, which have been in the works for more than a year.

“The overarching promise of the Y is that the new Y will not increase the traffic on the neighborhood streets,” San Carlos resident Kenneth Raggio said in a prepared statement. “The City Council has legislated that the Y will be held to that promise. We shall see.”

By Sarah Bennett Apr. 2, 2013 | 9:43 pm | 16 Comments | Comments RSS
16 comments to "University Park City Council Approves YMCA Ordinance"
  1. Bruce Klingman @ April 3, 2013 at 10:54 am
    It truly is a great day for the whole Park Cities community with the promise of a new Park Cities YMCA taking a major step towards becoming reality. I have served as part of the Park Cities YMCA leadership team that has worked closely with the neighbors and the City to fashion what eventually was approved unanimously by the UP City Council last night. We are excited to be entering the next phase of our project to bring a new YMCA to our neighborhood.
    I do want to take exception to Ken Raggio’s comments that appeared in the final paragraph of this article; essentially putting words in the YMCA’s mouth.
    The YMCA has never promised that there would be no increase in traffic from our project. In fact we have publicly declared the exact opposite of Mr. Raggio’s comments.
    In public presentations before the Planning and Zoning commission and The UP City Council we stated that there will be increased traffic. All five traffic stuides done by both the City and the YMCA quantified those projected increases. All studies have also shown that the street improvements that the YMCA is making are commensurate with those increases and that the projected levels of service after our project is completed are well within the range deemed acceptable by the City of University Park standards. The City’s own traffic study ratified the effectiveness of our proposed street improvements by stating that the YMCA could double in size from the size of building approved last night without negatively affecting service levels of traffic in the neighborhood.
    I just wanted to make sure that the record was clear on this issue.
    Bruce W. Klingman

  2. Randy @ April 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm
    Geez Klingman, quit beating a dead horse, pleeeease.

  3. Another Mother @ April 3, 2013 at 1:34 pm
    Happy this is over and happy we will have a new Y.

  4. Avid Reader @ April 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm
    @Bruce Klingman,
    Your long comment boils down to you calling Kenneth Raggio a liar. Since Raggio has been open about his opinions and the neighbors views from the get go, and the YMCA has pulled shady move after shady move (for example; trying to measure the square footage from the inside)…I’ll take Raggio’s word over yours. Having attended a number of the presentations in person I’ll also believe my lyin eyes and ears since I do not recall the YMCA hammering home the point (as you say they did)that traffic will increase.

  5. Duncan Fulton @ April 3, 2013 at 9:13 pm
    Avid Reader,
    I agree with Bruce’s statements regarding traffic. Those points were made on the 3rd slide of the Y’s May 8 presentation to P&Z, which I made, as well as the 6th slide of the August 7 presentation to Council, which I also made. The latter stated that the Y’s traffic study indicated the expansion would in a 66% increase.

    There was nothing shady about the approach to square footage. The original PD conditions were custom conditions developed with representatives from the neighborhood (both the east and west) and area references in those conditions were expressed as air-conditioned square footage – which is pretty common. That approach is generally consistent with the BOMA standard for building area measurement which is the most widely used standard in the US. Chances are if you are renting space, it’s calculated based on BOMA and measured to the inside face of the wall. The fact that Council wanted to approach it differently doesn’t make it shady, especially since they too ultimately decided to use an approach that differs from the strict definition of gross area in the zoning ordinance – as was their prerogative in a PD.

  6. Avid Reader @ April 4, 2013 at 6:15 am
    @Duncan Fulton,
    Though I do not recall the slide in question; I’ll take your word since I was there and saw you give one of those presentations. Yes, when you rent space, it is calculated by inside face of wall…because you are renting the inside space. When did the YMCA start renting space?

  7. Avid Reader @ April 4, 2013 at 6:16 am
    *give/at

  8. Gallup @ April 4, 2013 at 8:45 am
    Who believes that Preston Road can take 66% more traffic, accommodate “daily surges” from 4:30pm to 7:00pm for activity arrival/departures of the YMCA, and provide traffic service levels so good that traffic does not go into neighborhood “back streets”? Can we get a poll going on this Park Cities People?

  9. Can we just move on? @ April 4, 2013 at 9:43 am
    The word ‘compromise’ was mentioned frequently throughout the meeting prior to the vote. No ONE group got everything they wanted, but that’s typically what happens in most situations in life.

    Sour grapes, gloating, justification, and ongoing bickering serves no purpose at this stage.

  10. Moving on with a plan @ April 4, 2013 at 11:40 am
    Moving on does not mean lying down. There are many gray areas to be specified. Two examples,
    (1) UP Council is expecting detailed drawings of the proposed facility to be presented for inspection and approval
    (2) UP Council recorded into the minutes at last meeting a general process for measuring and evaluating traffic impacts vis-à-vis traffic studies referenced that now needs to be detailed.
    The neighbors continue to seek clarity on the commitment of the YMCA and the City on what impacts to traffic are not acceptable, how will they be identified, and what remedies might be available. The YMCA should be interested in these things also since some could interpret this PD as making them solely responsible to remedy traffic issues related to comings and goings of their facility.

  11. Ken Raggio @ April 4, 2013 at 11:45 am
    The Y apparently wants to now backtrack from the basic assumption they gave their traffic engineers upon which they based the DeShazo 5-1-12 traffic study, which is posted on the http://www.westofprestonneighbors.org website as well as on the City’s website. Specifically, Exhibit 3 and Exhibit 6 of that study shows, that on San Carlos for example, THAT THERE WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY NO INCREASE IN THE WESTBOUND TRAFFIC ON SAN CARLOS AFTER THE BUILD OUT OF THE NEW Y. The Exhibits also show a lessening of traffic on some streets. Exhibits 3 and 6 speak for themselves, and will speak loudly in the future.

    So that is the standard that was promulgated on Tuesday. Look at the questions by Councilman Begert and the responses by the City Manager Bob Livingston. while the Motion was pending and before the vote was taken.

    We all hope that all the Y’s traffic will ONLY go north on Preston to University,or only South to Mockingbird. That’s the rep and warranty of the traffic studies that the Council relied upon in doing what they did.

  12. XT @ April 4, 2013 at 2:24 pm
    Glad I don’t live in that section of town. Best of luck.

  13. Kathleen @ April 5, 2013 at 4:57 pm
    Since you do not live in the neighborhood why comment “XT”.
    I do and have opposed this from day one. You cannot tell me that they Y’s “street improvements” will not bring more traffic. The City rolled over after all the pressures they felt. Good luck on getting financial support. I know they will get their funding, but do not call me.

  14. Can we just move on? @ April 7, 2013 at 9:45 pm
    I agree with XT – still a lot of inherent contentiousness. But if it helps to ‘get it out’ in the public forum in order to move on to more positive things, then go for it.

  15. XT @ April 8, 2013 at 10:00 am
    @ Kathleen,

    A)I’ll comment whenever I want, thank you very much. While not my neighborhood, this is certainly my community, just as much as it is yours.
    B)I have consistently posted that I think this whole thing is an embarrassment to the town, with the Y being less than truthful, and the city leaders either willingly or naively letting it happen.
    C)When I said “best of luck”, it was because I think this new Y is going to be a nightmare for that section of town. And I am truly glad this didn’t happen in my neighborhood.

  16. Avid Reader @ April 10, 2013 at 6:20 am
    @Duncan Fulton,
    After reviewing the power point you mentioned on the traffic study I very quickly remembered why I did not remember the YMCA’s touting of the traffic increase. The reason being the misleading information including the useage of the phrases “not result in significant changes”, “acceptable levels” (never defined in any way), “minor increases”, and “slight increases”. On top of those extreme assumptions for the area in general, the portions of the presentation that Ken Raggio above mentions (Exhibit 3 & 6) are going to be literally impossible to live up to here in the real world as he is correct in saying that the report shows that there will be no increase on west bound San Carlos. So while I’ll agree that I was mistaken and that the traffic increase was mentioned, it was only mentioned in the most ridiculous and unrealistic assumptive manner. Good luck to you and the YMCA in living up to the promises made.

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