Questions About the DFW area

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff_Blanch, Mar 9, 2003.

  1. Jeff_Blanch

    Jeff_Blanch Agent

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    Hey all, I may have the opportunity to relocate to Allen, TX, just north of Dallas. I was hoping someone might be able to answer a few questions for me. I've lived in Austin for a little while when I was younger, so I am somewhat familiar with Texas. I remember bugs being pretty bad in Austin. Are they a major problem for homeowners in Dallas? Is the humidity as high in Dallas as it is in Austin? I've also heard that there are a lot of hail storms down there. What is the weather like? (Besides pretty hot. I kinda figured that.) This may sound like a stupid question, but is it hilly around there, or pretty flat? And what about trees? I remember Austin being fairly hilly with quite a few trees, and I'm wondering how Dallas compares. I'm originally from Oregon, so I like trees and elevation changes which I don't see very much in Nebraska where I currently live. And I guess most importantly, Do those of you who live in the area like it? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    Jeff
     
  2. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Allen is a nice, out-of-the-way suburb. It isn't landlocked by city sprawl, though it's probably just a matter of time.

    Are they [bugs] a major problem for homeowners in Dallas?
    Yes, but I don't think they're as bad as they are in Austin. We usually get a few good freezes during the winter tha kills off many larvae.

    Is the humidity as high in Dallas as it is in Austin?
    I think the humidity is lower in Dallas, by just enough to make a meaningful difference.

    I've also heard that there are a lot of hail storms down there. What is the weather like?
    Storm intensity tends to max out in the panhandle, and diminish westward and southward, hurricanes in Houston notwithstanding. So the storms in Dallas can be more violent, but only occasionally so.

    This may sound like a stupid question, but is it hilly around there, or pretty flat?
    Those who say it's hilly don't know what hilly is. It's pretty flat, overall.

    And what about trees?
    That depends. In some areas, developers just bulldoze everything, build on the wasted land, and then plant a trashy silver maple tree sapling to replace everything they killed. If you're lucky, you'll be able to live in a spot where the developers try to leave as much of the old-growth trees as they can. There are a few places like that, and they're really nice.

    Do those of you who live in the area like it?
    I like it. But I've managed to squirrel away about an acre of land, so I can make of it what I want. (For instance, I've already planted over 50 trees of my own!). As for the heat, if you can stand it in Austin, you can stand it here.

    Welcome to the Metroplex!
     
  3. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    I moved down here to work for a company in Allen a few years ago. I lived in Plano, and just moved to Wylie. I come from Kansas City originally.

    The humidity isn't too bad, its not like KC at all. The first August I was down here I thought it was bad, until I drove to KC and got out of my car, it nearly knocked me on my ass.

    Trees, hardly. Some of the neighborhoods have decent trees, but not many. Hills, bah. But then again, what's Nebraska have? Its fairly flat. Just some gently rolling hills every now and then. Overall its so flat and boring. When I go back to KC I actually find the scenery in Oklahoma to be nice.

    What field do you work in? The Allen, Plano, Richardson area is pretty geek friendly. Working in Allen you'll be right next to 75 Highway, and that means you can get to Best Buy, Circuit City, Ultimate Electronics, CompUSA, and Microcenter pretty quickly. There's also numerous specialty stores, especially on Preston Road which is in the west part of Plano.

    Richardson is home to the telecom corridor, lots of telecom companies, lots of jobless people. That's one downside to this place right now. Nortel, Cisco, Fujitsu, Alcatel, Sprint all employed lots of people down here, and all laid off lots of people. Still there are lots of tech companies around here, and you won't have to go to Dallas to find them. In fact, there's so much around Plano, you'll rarely need to go into Dallas at all.

    If you are interested in renting, you can find lots of good places near Allen in either Allen or Plano. If you want to buy a house, you'll most likely have to head to McKinney or perhaps even farther north, or to the east in Wylie or Sachse or perhaps to the north of Plano west of Allen. New house developments are getting farther and farther from Dallas as the area has grown pretty fast. I can vouch for Wylie being pretty nice. There's not lots of stuff there, but its not to far from 75, and there's also a back road leading to Allen. The commute from there would be pretty nice.

    There are a couple of problems down here. I never had allergies til I lived here for a while. Now it can be a real problem. I here that happens a lot. Also, buying liquor is a pain in the ass. Its mostly dry down here, although for some reason beer and wine is abundant. Finally, the sales tax is high, at just over 8%, but there is no state sales tax, and no property tax on cars.

    I got spiders, but not much in the way of bugs. Sometimes in the summers we have an increase in crickets and grasshoppers for a few weeks. That's pretty weird, it gets really bad, but I've never had issues with them getting in my house.

    We get some vicious thunderstorms with occasional hail, especially in the spring. I've been here since June of '99, and so far I haven't gotten hail damage on my car. One thing is the storms look scary and can be fun to watch, partly because of the lack of trees and hills, thus you can see forever.
     
  4. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Here's a thread where I got advice on building a house last year from the fine folks at HTF. Note that they spell it wrong down here, its Wylie, not Wiley.

    I forgot to mention that the occasional snow and ice storms wreck havoc on this city. Just two weeks ago we had a nasty ice storm come through. The main problem is they don't have salt trucks and snow plows. They put sand on the bridges and intersections, but that only helps so much and they only have so many trucks to work with. But this only happens once or twice a year at most, so its not a major problem.

    Oh, and don't forget, we have Fry's down here. If you have never been to one, its truly a sight to behold. Its not the greatest store on earth or anything, but it sure is fun to visit on occasion.
     
  5. Jeff_Blanch

    Jeff_Blanch Agent

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    Brian, Kieth thanks for the good information. Nebraska and Kansas are pretty similar, so your experience Kieth is very helpful. I'm just getting tired of living in the middle of nowhere, and am thinking DFW area would be a little nicer. The humidity can't really be much worse than around here during the summer when they have every cornfield in the state spraying water into the air. Kieth, you are right it really does knock you down. I guess the landscape isn't too different than here. At least there are some nice lakes around to go to. Storms are cool. I've spent some time in Southeast Asia and I actually like big storms, as long as nothing gets damaged. We get hail around here as well, and I haven't had any damage.

    As far as housing, I'm not sure what I'd do yet. I'm thinking maybe renting for a little while to figure out where I would really want to have a house and go from there.

    I am an engineer for a medical device company and would be doing the same in Allen. I've enjoyed the field because it tends to be pretty stable.

    Thats goods to hear that the place is geek friendly. I'll enjoy that but my wife is rolling her eyes already. I think she will probably ban me from Fry's. It would be like those circuit city ads where the guy acts like a kid in a candy store.

    Anyway, thanks for the great info. The house thread looks like it has a lot of great info in it, and I'll eventually get through the whole thing. Thanks again.

    Jeff
     
  6. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Kansas![​IMG] I'm from Missouri, thank you very much![​IMG] Why do people always think that? All the good stuff in Kansas City is on the Missouri side. Kansas City, KS is a little crime ridden speck of nothingness. Can you tell I'm biased? Technically I'm from Independence, but not many know where that is.

    Fry's is something else. There's not really anything there you can't find elsewhere for around the same price, but the selections is amazing. HT gear, computers, electronics, porn, appliances, software, DVD and CDs, snack foods, paintball equipment. Its all there. The one in the Dallas area has a Texas theme with longhorn steer above the entrance.

    And talk about your cultural meccas. Southfork is located just a few minutes southeast of Allen. Imagine how impressed your friends will be by that.

    Also, Dallas has been putting in a light rail system. It follows 75 and goes up into Plano right now and it either will or does go to Allen. It looks to be a pretty good system. I don't know anybody that uses it yet, but I have noticed the trains have a good number of people on them. Although most of Dallas is more of a driving town, things just aren't conveniently located for walking. But it could be good for going to Richardson and downtown.
     
  7. Jeff_Blanch

    Jeff_Blanch Agent

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    DOH! Sorry about that. I just got Kansas stuck in my mind and it was all over! Yeah, I know Kansas City is in Missouri. Heck I even know where Independance is. KC is still only a couple hours away from me. Yeah, I know all about specks of nothingness. I live in one. Takes me an hour and a half to drive anywhere worthwhile, so A light rail system would be awesome.

    Jeff
     
  8. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Cinematographer

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    I've been in Austin 25 years and the bugs are not bad here.
     
  9. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    I should have been clearer about the bugs. The most troublesome ones are crickets, grasshoppers, mosquitoes, and, of course, fire ants - all outdoor pests. Cockroaches, silver fish, sugar ants, and other house-infiltrators are almost non-existant here as long as you don't actively encourage them with, say, pizza boxes piled knee-deep in the HT.

    The mosquitoes are the worst and can otherwise ruin a perfect day. But they don't come back well after a good freeze, and we've had more than a few of those this winter.

    Fire ants can be controlled, but never eliminated. There's been encoraging work done to import the phorrid fly into Texas. This species of fly lays its eggs exclusively in the heads of fire ants. If the flies like it here, their growing numbers will keep the fire ant population to a minimum. And with a declining fire ant population, we may even start to see a few horned lizards (horny toads) scurrying accross the plains like they did thirty years ago, before fire ants moved in.


    There's a Park'n'Ride light rail station in Plano. So if you live in Allen, just because the train doesn't go that far North doesn't mean you can't use the rail system effectively.
     

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