Month: October 2006

  • [exasperated]  Why bother having rules, then?  If a business can get large variances granted for no better reason than they want them?

    This evening I attended a neighborhood meeting at the local recreation center concerning the variances that have been requested by Park Cities Bank, a Dallas bank that's purchased some land on Camp Bowie and is building on it.  Now that, by itself, is fine.  I'm all in favor.  You can't have too many banks, I always say.

    But Park Cities has bought two adjoining lots on Camp Bowie, with Tremont on the south and Hillcrest on the north.  On the Tremont lot is currently a defunct's been one of those sites that has flipped several times, as one would-be restauranteur after another tries to make a go of it there.  Once the existing building is gone, it'd provide more than enough room for the building the bank wants to construct.

    Unfortunately, Park Cities....did I mention it's a DALLAS company?.....doesn't want to do the reasonable, sensible thing and put their bank on the plot of land that wouldn't require a single, solitary variance.  Nope, they're bound and determined to build it on the Hillcrest lot, which is a good bit smaller, and would necessitate three significant variances.  My memory's hazy on precisely what the architect said they were asking for, but it seems as if one of them would move the building line from the 40' set-back required by the city code to 20', another would go from 20' to 15' (I think...this one I'm really mentally muddy on), but the most disputed variance requested is the one that would move the actual edifice to within 3' of the sidewalk running along Camp Bowie, from I'm thinking 10' or perhaps it was 15'.  Sure not THREE feet, though.

    Mind, it's looking to be an attractive establishment; here's an architect's rendering of the proposed bank building:

    Park Cities

    I don't think the scale is accurate, as this makes the greenspace between Camp Bowie on the far left and the sidewalk to be too wide.

    Honestly, what bugs me the most is the only reason provided for building on the smaller site is "increased visibility", meaning it'll be more noticeable to passers-by.  That's it.  IOW, they think it'll look nicer there.  They think they'll stand out more there.

    They want it there, basically.  Even though the lot partially visible on the right is large enough to have the size building they want plus the three drive-thru lanes without any variances being necessary.  That's going to be a doubtless-much-larger-than-needed parking lot. 

    The zoning will have to be adjusted for the bank to be on the Hillcrest lot, while it doesn't for the Tremont lot.  There's a new home just been built to the immediate south of the proposed bank, and mercy Maud, was the owner of that house frosted.  He bought his lot in May, and the bank bought the lot next to him the following month.  Apparently he was quite taken aback to discover there's now going to be a bank building right next door.  On the Tremont side the houses next to the lot have been rezoned for light commercial, and have an attorney and a veterinarian in them, for instance.  No worries having a bank next to them!

    But Park Cities doesn't want to be across from the 7-11 and next to the attorney's office....they want to be shoved up right next to Camp Bowie, and alongside and directly across from residences.

    Personally, I don't think "Just 'cause we want it" is a sufficient reason for the city, via the Board of Adjustments, to grant the requested variances.  Heck, I want a pony, but I'm gonna have to do without.   Welcome to life.  If variances like this are given simply because it suits the sensibilities of Park Cities, then I'm at a loss as to why bother have the restrictions and set-back allowances at all.  If the only reason someone can give as to why they should be permitted to ignore the rules is because they want to, there isn't much point having the rules.

  • Well, Dmitry has been advised to have his wisdom teeth pulled.  

    He'd been complaining of an area that's hurting, and according to the dentist, that'd be it....the teeth are trying to erupt but there's no room in his mouth for them.

    Said he can wait till Christmas or even next year, and considering his age the teeth ought to come out fairly easily, not have had years to grow long, deeply embedded roots.  Dmitry was a bit morose at the prospect, but accepting.

    That'll leave Jonathan as the sole Ivy child with his wisdom teeth intact.

    Speaking of wisdom teeth being pulled, I'm hoping Charles will hit a port within the next couple of weeks so he can CALL HIS MAMA.

    Right after he calls Summer, no doubt.  e-fingers_ears

  • I didn't know anyone was still break dancing at all, but apparently they are. This guy is fabulous! I wonder if Olympic gymnasts could emulate him easily? Probably not. Alex, pay special attention to the "push ups" toward the end....if you can manage the same feat, you'll impress whoever judges the PFA for sure.

  • Shamelessly snagged off The Stupid Shall Be Punished is this cool photo of a space shuttle launch as seen from a WB-57, a NASA chase plane that flies way high:

    shuttle from plane


  • There are updates on both Ivyleaguebaby and Alex_Z_Ivy, BTW.  e-thumbs

    On the former, Hannah's already displaying the sense of style for which Ivys are known:

    It's A Look. 

  • [triumphantly] Got the names!

    The king refers to his daughters as his "twelve precious jewels", and they're named accordingly:

    1. Ruby
    2. Diamond
    3. Sapphire
    4. Emerald
    5. Beryl
    6. Opal
    7. Amber
    8. Topaz
    9. Jade
    10. Pearl
    11. Amethyst
    12. Garnet

  • We're a week and a half out from the start of NaNoWriMo and I'm already displaying a lamentable lack of imagination, both by simply retelling and fleshing out a fairy tale (The Twelve Dancing Princesses) and snitching Kelly's (aka: Badgermum) idea of looking to fairy tales for inspiration.

    Not looking promising, is it?

    Ah,well.  C'est la vie.  The key point is I do have something to write about.  No title, or characters, mind, but still....there's some sort of a plot in place.

    From little acorns, etc.  e-ghost

    Finally took a few minutes to start sketching out my story.  I can't do any actual, you know, official writing prior to November but one can make an outline, set the characters, and so on.

    I'm thinking of opening with the cobbler expressing equal measures of astonishment and exasperation
    at yet another rush order for shoes for the twelve princesses up at the
    castle.  It's not that he doesn't appreciate the money....though
    royalty's a notoriously slow pay....but for crying out loud, what are
    they doing with them?  Eating
    them as midnight snacks?  And it's always a rush order for three dozen
    shoes.  How the heck is he supposed to take care of his other customers if every couple of days he has to drop everything to make three dozen shoes for the princesses?

    What's going on up there, anyway?

    Next up are the princesses themselves.  Each has to be unique.  A dozen of 'em.  Hmmmmm......   e-headscratch

    BTW, for those poor souls unfamiliar with this particular Grimm's Fairy Tale, here 'tis, complete with lovely illustrations:

  • Why do interior decorators....I beg your humble pardon, I mean interior designers (there's a question: are there any "interior decorators" left, or have they gone the way of the dodo?) such peculiar things?

    This morning I was assigned to the Bird's Eye Maple Bedroom, which featured, what else, bird's eye maple.  I've never run across it before, at least not that I can recall, and just loved it.  Unfortunately, it's what's nowadays called a nonrenewable resource, seeing as how the distinctive mottling was caused by insect damage, and DDT made the insects vanish.

    No insects, no insect damage; no insect damage, no bird's eye maple.

    But I digress.  It's a charming room, with a gorgeous fireplace surround of carved BEM, as well as molding around the doors, windows, and ceiling, plus the original BEM armoire owned by Electra Wharton.  The lighting fixture was also original, dating to 1903, and while the wallpaper wasn't original, it was the color they know had been used in that room (a robin's egg blue), and a registered historical pattern that was in use at that time.  I don't remember all the ins and outs, but they're quite confidant if it's not the same color and pattern, it's near enough as makes no difference.

    So what does the designer put into this room which has been designated as a true historical restoration?

    An art-deco style, black four-poster bed with straight posts.  And modern, crystal lamps.  And the coup de grace, a painting of red and rust polka dots over the bed, valued at $6,000 (though I can't imagine who'd pay it, never mind it's made of oil and flock).

    Mind, there were some lovely touches, and the designer did a truly marvelous job with the window treatments, but the bed, lamps, and especially that painting didn't fit the room. 

    Didn't hear one single positive comment about that painting.  Not one.  It was universally loathed by the visitors, at least placed in that room.  How did the designer not know everyone would hate it? 

    However, that was nothing compared to the library, I believe it was.  In that room, which has beautiful swag molding and dark wood, the designer chose to dump a tiger skin rug, a painting of a dog wearing a suit, and the most singularly peculiar chess or checkers set (couldn't tell which it was) I've ever seen, made of brightly colored spun glass with weird faces on top.  Yesterday afternoon I overheard a visitor - all the way up in the Master's Retreat - criticizing it as ugly and unsuitable.  By golly, that visitor was right as rain.  It was utterly hideous.  Can't even think of where it might look good, never mind the Thistle Hill library.

    Are designers so totally out of touch with ordinary people that they truly believe they're going to stroll through that Colonial Revival house, get a gander of the tiger skin rug, dog in a suit, and plug-ugle chess set, and immediately think "Oooh, I need this designer's card!"?