winnetka heights church

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The owners of a 1929 church in the Winnetka Heights Historic District requested a delay in their zoning case, which had been scheduled for today, to address a last-minute letter of opposition from a neighborhood association.

The letter, from the Winnetka Heights Neighborhood Association to the City Plan Commission, states that the association’s board of directors is opposed to the zoning change, which requests to use the building as an instructional art studio and theater.

The letter states that the Winnetka Heights Historic District “has spurred the revitalization of Oak Cliff and, in addition to preserving a quality of life, has allowed the neighborhood and its environs to become an economic engine for the City of Dallas. It is this success that both draws new ideas, but also begs the question: why mess with success?”

If the zoning request should be approved, the association outlined stipulations it wants added, which include requiring the owners to submit a traffic management plan and preventing them from receiving parking waivers.

From the letter:

The actual impact of the zoning proposed today is an unknown. Many immediate neighbors are concerned it will increase traffic on their street where Greiner Middle School already has a significant impact. The Board believes the more limited hours proposed by city staff and the requirement of on-site queuing will help mitigate that impact. Neighbors also expressed concern about parking on a street that already requires residential parking permits. There was a sentiment expressed by some adjacent neighbors that the respite on their street when Greiner goes quiet on nights and weekends will be disrupted by theatrical and instructional business filling the gaps.

Todd Lott, who owns the church with his wife, Lola, says they were surprised and discouraged by the letter and are unsure whether they will continue with their historical restoration of the church, which is estimated to cost $400,000-$500,000.

In a statement to supporters, they wrote:

“We have already reached out to the WHNA board to request a meeting next week to iron out whatever concerns remain regarding the project. If you haven’t already had the chance to make your opinion on the project known to the board, please do so at community@winnetkaheights.org.”

Letter to CPC From WHNA