Artist’s rendering of Cypress Creek at Forest Lane

Last week, the Dallas City Council approved a resolution of support for developers to secure 9% low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC) for construction of apartments at Forest Lane and 75. Cypress Creek at Forest Lane, planned as a 200-unit mixed income development with half low income and half market rent units, was opposed by Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough.

“An overwhelming majority of the feedback I received, particularly from adjacent neighborhoods like Northwood Estates and Hamilton Park, expressed opposition to the project planned for 11520 N. Central Expw,” McGough shared on social media. “The next step in the process is for the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) to review Cypress Creek’s application (#21139) to determine whether it will compete with other applications submitted throughout the state for these coveted federal tax credits. The deadline for submissions is March 8.”

Developers Bonner Carrington and Sycamore Strategies promoted their plan as an attractive, workable solution to much-needed affordable housing in Dallas, with easy access to the Forest Lane DART station, nearby schools, employment, grocery stores and other amenities. It earned the support of Dallas’ Housing and Homelessness Solutions Committee, which indicated a clear need for “workforce housing” and a lack of available space in the targeted area of North Dallas.

Residents who live and work nearby said their primary reason for opposing the new project is the persistent – and often violent – crime surrounding Forest and 75, which the city has been unable to tackle. Even after Project Safe Neighborhoods, a joint task force with the FBI and other crime-fighting authorities, focused on the area and made large numbers of arrests at the DART station, the RaceTrac (now a 7-Eleven) and other businesses near the corner, violent crime, including murders, persist.

McGough’s motion to deny LIHTC support failed, but one councilman voiced agreement with McGough. District 11’s Lee Kleinman, who represents the area west of 75, said he frequently gets calls from constituents who no longer feel safe using the Cottonwood Trail system. Aggressive panhandlers living on the trails throw items at passing cyclists, he said, to topple them from their bikes. Citizens have also reported fires in the wildlife area by the trails as homeless persons have sought warmth in the cold.

State Rep. John Turner said he is having meetings about the project this week and will finalize his position soon.

“In the past week, I have been hearing from constituents about the proposed development, with a large majority opposed to it,” Turner told me. “In particular, many in the Hamilton Park and Northwood Heights neighborhoods, which are nearest to the project, do not support it. I welcome citizen input, especially from people in these neighborhoods.” Turner’s email is District114.Turner@house.texas.gov.

“My focus in providing my recommendation to the state,” continued Turner, “will be to give voice to the views and reasonable concerns of my affected constituents.”

The TDHCA will host a virtual public hearing on May 18 at 6 p.m. to accept comments on LIHTC projects in four regions including Region 3, which includes Forest and 75. Those interested in attending and/or commenting may register here. Written comments may be emailed to HTCPC@tdhca.state.tx.us.