Demolition to be delayed in Bishop Arts, Oak Cliff Gateway

LakeCliff:FifthStreet

A few square miles of Oak Cliff are a little more protected from big-development destruction.

The city’s Landmark Commission voted to add part of Oak Cliff’s oldest section to a proposed ordinance that would require a waiting period before buildings can be torn down.

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The commission’s action stemmed from the time last year when a developer tore down a 129-year-old Downtown building during a Cowboys game and then continued to swing the wrecking ball on century-old buildings in order to make way for a high-end shop.

A preservation task force, commissioned after the downtown tear-downs, suggested the ordinance. It would create something with a mouthful of a name: Historic District Building Demolition Delay Overlay, where nothing could be torn down without a waiting period and review.

The proposed overlay would apply to buildings or structures at least 50 years old that meet one of the following criteria: 1) located in a National Register District or individually listed, 2) a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 3) State Antiquities Landmark, 4) National Historic Landmark, 5) listed as significant in the 2003 Downtown Dallas Historic/Architectural Significant Properties survey, or 6) listed as contributing in the 1994 Hardy-Heck-Moore survey.

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“It will put a delay on things so you can have the kind of response like we had on the Lakewood Theater,” landmark commissioner Michael Amonett says. “That way you don’t just wake up and there’s something torn down.”

The proposal originally overlaid Downtown and part of the Cedars but didn’t cross the river. So Amonett asked that Oak Cliff be included.

He and City Councilman Scott Griggs succeeded in adding part of the Oak Cliff Gateway and the Bishop Arts District. A map of the Oak Cliff overlay is below.

Amonett says he would like more of Oak Cliff’s oldest section, including the Jefferson at 10th Street commercial area, to be added in the future.

City Council is expected to consider the proposed ordinance Sept. 22.

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