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Trinity East Drilling Decision Returns to City Council After Plan Commission Denial

Now that the Dallas Plan Commission has again rejected Trinity East’s plan to drill in parkland along the Trinity River, the decision falls to the City Council. A super majority — 12 of the 15 members — would be needed to overturn the commission’s ruling. There are a few things at play here, so let’s examine.

1. When will the Council vote? As the Morning News‘ Randy Lee Loftis noted in his story, Commissioner Tony Hinojosa suggested sending the item to Council in June, to allow for more study. The June date, though not expressly stated, is after the May 11 City Council election. One of the project’s lead opponents, Angela Hunt, heads out the door in that election. Her replacement would likely fall in line with her view, but it’s uncertain. Scott Griggs, the project’s other major opponent, faces Delia Jasso in his race, due to district realignment. If Griggs lost, and the vote was pushed to June, the project would lose one of its biggest opponents.

Even though Hinojosa’s suggestion failed 11-4, the council could still push a decision. That all depends on…

2. Personalities. During last month’s drubbing/back-rub of Mary Suhm, both Griggs and Hunt (GRUNT) were taken to task by other Council members for their attacks on Suhm. How much will that affect the May vote? Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins asked why the hearing was even taking place, and Jasso — running against Griggs, remember — said the hearing was just “pandering.” GRUNT will need two votes to swing their way…

3. The Votes. Hunt and Griggs are in. As Schutze noted last week, Councilwoman Sandy Greyson hasn’t been bullish on the toll road, a thorn that could extend to drilling. And looking back over my notes from the Mary Suhm hearing, Ann Margolin expressed some hesitancy, stating that the Council didn’t have “the knowledge of the potential hazards of drilling” five to six years ago. Jerry Allen said he “hadn’t seen any three-headed babies,” so he’s probably not going to swing to GRUNT.

See you at City Council. And then court. And then court again, probably.