Neighbors: Reopen the Bishop/Davis zoning

14.09.13-OC-CVR-Bishop-Arts-DFulgencio-0001

The rezoning case that changed rules for building in the Bishop Arts District and surrounding areas, known as the Bishop/Davis PD, went into the books five years ago.

In light of that as well as a massive development planned for the area surrounding Seventh and Zang, neighbors are asking City Council to reopen the Bishop/Davis PD.

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From the change.org petition: “In particular the area in and around the Bishop Arts District must be reexamined with regard to building height, maximum lot size and residential proximity slope.”

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Here is the request in its entirety:

Current zoning in PD 830 (Bishop Davis PD) allows five-story, 75-foot-tall, block-long multifamily developments in Bishop Arts. We must open up the PD to change the zoning in certain areas.

We recognize the transformative role that the Bishop Arts District has played in the rebirth of Oak Cliff. Current zoning threatens that. We do not oppose development. We reject monolithic, unimaginative, oversized architecture that would replace the very authenticity that is the source of our popularity. We feel this type of development would have a destabilizing negative impact on our area. We welcome development that respects the scale, diversity and character of our neighborhood. What we leave behind for the next generation is important to us. Oak Cliff is our home.

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  • Smokey

    Andrew the first 20 years of my life were spent in Oak Cliff, in fact on Tyler St. I remember riding the old Tyler 5 bus that carried me into the world beyond. Didn’t know then, all that appeared old and tired, was actually a spirit that would carry on as I discovered my new world. Funny how you can take someone from Oak Cliff but they will take something with them on the way out, hoping some day to give it back. I just hope when the Nuevo Oak Cliff sorts are done with their pillage, there is something left to come home to. Not sure the spirit will survive however I am thankful I can say I was there, then….

  • Andrew Hudson

    It’s interesting reading the plethora of info floating around out there in the ether, on the subject of city planning. Some advocate the abolition of city planning departments altogether. These opponents claim that city planners do more damage than good! Having family in Houston, takes me to that great “haven of humidity” on occasion and it is difficult to see any glaring differences between our urban sprawl and that of a larger city totally lacking zoning.

    My personal experience with city planning revolves around the changing of my street (S. Tyler) from present one way to two way street. I’ve spoken with city planning about our situation and unfortunately, as an artist who respects designers and the difficulties they face in the design process, I find myself in the uncomfortable position of being critical of their proposed solutions.

    They did not seem to understand the difficulties we were and are experiencing. Traffic congestion created by an illy placed school in a neighboring church parking lot seemed to come as a surprise to them. City planning should have never allowed this sorry excuse for a building to be moved in over a weekend. These modular buildings are an insult to education, the neighboring community as well as the idea of responsible city planning.

    Designers failed to consider a 13 floor building containing 180 low-cost apartments for the elderly. They never saw the stretches of sidewalk that are impassable on foot. They failed to talk to any of the stakeholders before offering us a solution to a problem we didn’t know we had! And even now they only deal with the loudest of protestations, namely parking, which effects both businesses and residences alike. In community meetings they have glossed over issues of safety, pollution, expense as well as the impact on emergency services. They have ignored the “crown jewel” of S. Tyler, the Bishop Arts Theater and their dependence on valet parking.

    In April, at a neighborhood meeting, we were assured they were working on a solution for the parking problems the proposal will create, but I’m beginning to wonder! It seems the traffic slowing tactics used north of Davis would be just as effective as changing this section of Tyler to two way. Arguably one might say that the process has become far too complicated and I might add, far too politicised!

  • Smokey

    Good point…there is zoning assigned from the beginning at least in modern platting. However PD or Planned Development zoning as in this case creates a more specific theme for the area. It can allow certain specific uses that may be approved on an individual basis by the local authority. There are uses allowed by right and some that require that Specific Use Permit. In this case you are also in an area that allows tax refunds to developers who invest in zone. There is not an easy answer because none of this happened over night and in a lot of cases even the people that approve it don’t fully understand. Some see it as a property value and tax revenue generator and don’t factor in the human condition or quality of life issues that may occur as a result.

  • Andrew Hudson

    Just a thought, but isn’t all rezoning “reversing zoning”? All changes supercede the preexisting standards. It’s tough to vote for a zoning change with no specific design on the table. I’ve always felt the process to be a bit out of sequence. We vote for the criteria before we know exactly what’s being proposed, aesthetically. It would be helpful to be able to see exactly what is being proposed before changing the zoning to facilitate some unknown project. Additionally, being informed about what is going to be built, before approving the zoning, would give neighborhoods a little more clout in negotiating with people who are only interested in short term benefits.

  • Smokey

    I don’t know anything about reversing zoning, I’ve never seen it happen before. The elected officials that approved the new PD should have better informed their constituents. It’s impossible to unring a bell, but never too late to be heard.

  • lakewoodhobo

    I would like to know more about what this would do to projects that are currently underway and more desirable than Alamo Manhattan’s project, like the Nazerian “Bishop Arts Village” (current or future phases) or the Dallas County Schools property. I have no interest in reducing the height requirement on those properties.

    If this is just about reducing Zoli’s and Local Oak parcels to 3 stories (like what is currently allowed in the rest of Bishop Arts) then maybe. To be clear, the Bishop Davis PD does not allow 5-story buildings where Eno’s, Hattie’s and the rest of Bishop Arts is located.

  • Stephanie Behring

    Its a second location of a company based in Austin.

  • ThisAintAustin

    Too bad we can’t zone business names. Simply Austin? WTF? This simply isn’t Austin. It’s Dallas. Better yet, it’s Oak Cliff.