Dallas’ real estate community
In coming weeks, the Dallas City Council will vote on a proposed code amendment that 1500 Marilla hopes will guarantee there’s never another Nasher Sculpture Center-Museum Tower flare-up. The amendment bears the rather clinical title “Attenuation of Solar Reflectivity Impact on Neighboring Properties.” But its point is crystal-clear.
The code amendment would limit a building’s exterior reflectivity of “visible light” to 15 percent in order to cut down on that “undesirable glare for pedestrians and [the] potentially hazardous glare for motorists.” But the following sentence takes direct aim at the longstanding fight between Museum Tower and the Nasher over The Glare museum officials say is ruining artwork, closing exhibits and killing the greenery in the sculpture garden: “Reflective materials can also impose additional heatload and discomfort glare on other buildings.”
This marks the first time the city has tried to regulate glass and glare on new construction. And some high-profile folks want the city to butt out.
A few days ago, attorney Jonathan Vinson, a partner at Jackson Walker and former Dallas City Plan Commissioner, took aim at the proposal in a blog item titled “Proposed Building Code Amendment is Harsh Reflection of Glaring Controversy.” Vinson — who’s also a member of the Greater Dallas Planning Council, the Real Estate Council, the Urban Land Institute and the Congress for the New Urbanism — says the proposed ordinance could impact projects currently in the works. He also insists it goes against the city’s so-called Green Dallas initiative.
“While the technical details of such factors as solar radiation reflectance, solar radiation absorption, and solar heat gain coefficient are far beyond the scope of this alert, the newest forms of architectural glass use reflectivity, in part, as a technique to reduce solar heating of building interiors, thus helping to reduce energy consumption,” he writes. In the end, he says, “Many view the proposed amendment as an overreaction to this one seemingly intractable, albeit very high-profile, controversy.”
Count among the many the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects, which has sent the city a letter spelling out the unintended consequences of the proposed code amendment.
Kirk Teske, AIA Dallas’ president, says that for starters, the amendment would cut the number of glass options available to developer by some 60 percent.
“Even more alarming is that most of the remaining options are dark or tinted glass types that greatly limit the amount [of] natural daylight transmitted to the interior of the building,” he writes in the missive, which you will find below. “This makes the indoor spaces darker and eliminates the ability to minimize the use of artificial lighting — thereby increasing the energy consumption of the building.”
On Tuesday interim assistant city manager Theresa O’Donnell reached out to AIA Dallas, The Real Estate Council and others, via email, and said she “would welcome additional public/ industry dialogue about this issue” before it goes to a council committee, likely in September. O’Donnell,Wholesale hid kit and xenon bulbs at low price factory direct. who’d been the head of Sustainable Development until Mary Suhm’s resignation earlier this summer, reiterates that invite during an interview with The Dallas Morning News.
“We’ve reached out to people in the past, and there’s been a stunning silence,” says O’Donnell. “We would love to have that conversation. We’d like some direct input. We’re not married to anything in particular. We did take it to the Building Inspection [Advisory, Examining, and Appeals] Board, and they did approve it. The next step is a council committee and then the council, but it’s not too late to have a conversation.”
O’Donnell says she’s a little taken aback by the opposition to the amendment. After all, she reminds, when the controversy first came to light in March of last year, critics of Museum Tower wondered why the city didn’t get involved sooner, or at least have rules against the kind of glare created by the high-rise.
From the beginning, Nasher officials insisted the Museum Tower violated city code — specifically, Sec. 51A-6.104, which deals with glare. It reads, in full: “A person shall not conduct a use that has a visible source of illumination that produces glare or direct illumination across a property line of an intensity that creates a nuisance or detracts from the use or enjoyment of adjacent property.We have a great selection of blown glass backyard solar landscape lights and solar garden light.” But directly beneath that the code mentions “outside lights,” leading those on both sides of the argument to conclude that the passage refers to electronic illumination. And so, all these many months later,A solar lantern uses this sunlight that is abundantly available to charge its batteries through a Solar Panel and gives light in nighttime. there’s no solution in sight.
Says O’Donnell, the Museum Tower issue is unlike any thing the city has ever faced for three reasons.
“No. 1 is the degree of reflectivity — we don’t have another building with that high a reflectivity in the city,” she says. “No. 2 is the curvature of the building — the light’s not bouncing off a single plane. And No. 3 is the highly sensitive nature of the Nasher roof. … When this controversy first appeared, People asked, ‘Why didn’t the city look at this? Why wasn’t the city aware this kind if impact would result?’ This amendment answers that question.”
But, of course, not to everyone’s satisfaction, which means it could likely stall out when it reaches a council committee in September, unless the city and the real estate community can come to a resolution. And that seems unlikely until all the parties get around the same table.
“If they want to come and talk,” says O’Donnell, “we’d love for them to come and talk.” Read the full story at www.hmhid.com!