The Dallas City Council is scheduled to have a full council briefing and possible vote this Wednesday, Dec. 3, on a new and different way to build neighborhoods in Dallas. This new kind of development is called "form-based zoning" and was the subject of my column in the October Far North Dallas Advocate.
Form-based zoning can have a huge impact, either positive or negative, on existing Dallas neighborhoods. The impact comes from the greater heights, high density and reduced parking that will be allowed in form-based zoning districts. The council vote on this zoning has been pending since early summer because city staff didn’t like a remarkable compromise that had been reached earlier in the year between neighborhoods and developers. (The Old Oak Cliff Conservation League was among the neighborhood groups involved in the compromise.)
Instead, staff came up with their own proposal that weakened critical neighborhood protections contained in the compromise. These protections relate to height of new buildings next to existing neighborhoods, buffer zones between new development and existing neighborhoods, and large enough areas for the new developments so that parking doesn’t spill over into existing neighborhoods.
City councilmen have two versions in front of them to consider on Wednesday — the staff version, and a City Plan Commission version that reflects the neighborhood/developer compromise. It’s very important that council hear from neighborhood advocates about this issue. Contact councilmen at dallascityhall.com and ask them to support the plan commission version.
Form-based zoning (similar to West Village and Mockingbird Station) can be great for Dallas. Or it can mean numerous trips to City Hall on future Wednesdays by neighborhoods trying to fend off tall buildings and overflow parking. Let’s help councilmen make the right decision by asking them to reject the staff version and support the plan commission version.
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