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DFW City Candidates Talk Redevelopment

City of Arlington
City of Arlington/City of Arlington Facebook

Three candidates looking to fill one of the four seats available on the Arlington City Council recently weighed in on balancing rapid growth with liveability.

Nowhere is this balance more an issue than in District 1, which comprises the Entertainment District in North Arlington. While boasting two Six Flags parks and an array of restaurants, shopping centers, live entertainment venues, and more, the hub’s expansion over the past few years has created considerable challenges in terms of infrastructure, public safety, and housing.

The three candidates vying for the District 1 seat — Mauricio Galante, Jacob Franklin, and Tim Goss — have addressed these matters ahead of the May 4 election. It is the only council race in Arlington without an incumbent this municipal election cycle.

“The city is growing fast. We need to balance the interests of the residents that want to preserve the character of the city,” Galante, a business owner, said, per KERA News.

He also stressed the need to support small businesses to boost employment opportunities in the city.

“At the end of the day, 80% of the jobs are created by the little bars, restaurants, boutiques and shops and cafes,” Galante said, per KERA.

In fact, all three candidates said they would like more businesses in the area.

“If you want to have a quiet place to go, have dinner, or go shopping in our little area here, there’s really not that much available to us,” Goss said, according to KERA.

The candidates diverge when it comes to housing, with North Arlington comprising the largest share of multi-family residences in the city — 15,248 units as of its 2020 inventory.

Franklin, a tech engineer, wants to focus more on mixed-used developments and projects that build housing in close quarters with businesses as he believes such an approach would foster greater affordability.

“I want to fight for mixed-use zoning and higher-density zoning to keep the price of housing down and address the homelessness crisis,” he said, per KERA.

Galante and Goss, however, are against developers building more apartments in the area.

The former argued that redevelopment of the lower-quality apartments and houses in the area was paramount. Otherwise, he claimed, the cycle of cheap rentals would continue to create an unlivable environment for renters.

“When we redevelop, we need to put quality there,” Galante said, per KERA. “We need, really, to get housing with more quality and really think carefully if we want to continue or if we want to explore the buying opportunity.”

For his part, Goss stressed the importance of getting the existing apartment complexes up to code.

“We have a lot of aged infrastructure as well with some of these old apartments that are really, you know, absentee owners — California, New York, whatever — and they don’t really do a great job of keeping up the apartments,” he said, according to KERA.

In Arlington, less than 7% of the land, or 3,318 acres, is considered vacant and available for development. The shrinking amount of undeveloped land in the city has reportedly been a problem council members have been grappling with for some time, amending the city codes and creating incentives, such as tax credits, to get areas developed.

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