Itemizer-Observer

DALLAS — A proposed re-route of the Rickreall Creek Trail through a development in Dallas was denied at the Sept. 21 City Council meeting in a vote in which Mayor Brian Dalton had to cast a tie-breaker.

The route, proposed by developer JENRAE Properties, would have diverted from the path outlined in the Dallas Comprehensive Plan and Transportation Systems Plan. Both of those have the trail running alongside Rickreall Creek. The route put forward for consideration by JENRAE would have diverted the path from the creek side. The developer argued that its path could be build sooner.

In exchange for moving the trail from the creek side in the portion running through the development – located at 365 SE Academy St. near the city shops and Walnut Park – JENRAE offered to place a play structure and exercise stations along the route.

Councilor Terry Crawford said he was convinced by the argument that JENRAE’s proposal would be built sooner.

“If we deny this, there won’t be a trail there for quite some time,” he said.

The Dallas Planning Commission approved the necessary zoning change for the development to move forward, but in doing so, denied the trail adjustment.

The council voted to uphold that decision, but not without a little drama.

Per the city’s charter, a majority of the whole council, not just a majority of those present at the meeting, is required to approve the planning commission’s decision. There are nine members of the council, so five yes votes would be required.

There were eight councilors eligible to vote — Councilor Paul Trahan, a representative of JENRAE, did not participate in discussion or the vote — meaning that a tie is possible.

It that case, Dalton would have to cast the tie-breaking vote on the matter.

“It requires a vote of five to pass this particular motion,” Dalton reminded the council before the vote.

The council split evenly on the vote.

Councilors Jennie Rummell, Crawford, Jackie Lawson, and Michael Schilling voted no.

Councilor Larry Briggs, Kelly Gabliks, Bill Hahn, and Ken Woods Jr. voted yes.

“We have a tie vote,” Dalton said after the roll call. “I vote yes to deny the applicant’s proposal.”

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