DART is undergoing its betterment process for the Silverline project and is beginning discussions with Carrollton residents who are adjacent to the proposed rail line.
But final decisions on what the mitigation will be are far from final.
During Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Gary Thomas, DART president, gave the council an update on the process.
Thomas said mitigation is required by federal law, but betterments are items implemented that are above and beyond the standard environmental measure or design criteria identified through the planning and preliminary engineering process. This can include walls, enhanced fencing and landscaping improvements.
In Carrollton, 13 neighborhoods are eligible for mitigation such as the Switchyard Apartments, the Josey Place Apartments, Gardens of Josey Lane, some residents along McKamy Drive and Clint Street.
Thomas said Country Place is not eligible for a sound wall, but the neighborhood submitted a petition to DART requesting a 15-foot wall.
Residents living in eligible areas are allowed to vote on what kind of mitigation they would like to have. Residents who don’t vote will be given a default.
Thomas said five neighborhoods came to a consensus on what they wanted while the other eight neighborhoods are set to receive default upgrades since not enough people voted.
Thomas said the majority of the additions would more than likely be a 15-foot wall without landscaping improvements or a 12-foot wall with landscaping improvements. However, these decisions are preliminary and more options besides a wall could be considered.
“We would definitely like to work with you all with some of the options,” said Mayor Kevin Falconer. “Especially… looking at how those things start intersecting with our major corridors where we have a major emphasis.”
The council, however, was disappointed in how the process is being done. The council was surprised DART began to offer solutions to residents without bringing those options to the council first.
“I’m concerned that perhaps they (the residents) might be surprised with what they actually get in terms of their consensus and default,” said Councilman Steve Babick.
“I think one of the things we have to be careful about, is with all this money being spent on this and the optimism … I think Carrollton has for this project is that we do it right. I’m just concerned that we’re not."
Thomas said that DART will go back to the neighborhoods and have further discussions about their betterment options around March or April and will bring back an update to the council.
For more information, visit dart.org/about/expansion/cottonbelt.asp