The Mill Creek Homeowners Association proved recently that neighborhoods can have a positive impact on zoning issues.

The issue arose when a property owner intended to rezone four contiguous lots in the 4500 block of Swiss Avenue, increasing the allowed density of existing multifamily uses on three lots and rezoning a vacant lot from single-family to multifamily on the fourth.

The case originally was scheduled to be heard by the Plan Commission July 16, but neighborhood representatives persuaded the commission to delay the hearing one week, allowing time for a neighborhood-property owner compromise.

At the July 23 Plan Commission meeting, both parties agreed to permit eight multifamily units on one lot, while withdrawing the two smaller multifamily properties from the application and preserving single-family zoning on another.

As a result, the developer has an economically viable property, and the neighborhood is assured of reasonable density and redevelopment of a property recently boarded up by the U.S. Marshal’s office as a former drug house.

It’s a true “win-win” situation for both parties.

DRY OVERLAY, PART?

The regulation of alcohol-related uses in East Dallas and Citywide continues to grow more Byzantine in its political complexity.

Since last month’s column, the Plan Commission adopted, by a 13-2 vote, a report from the Commission’s Liquor Regulation Task Force.

The report focused on improved enforcement techniques as a means for dealing with problem liquor-related businesses, although it also includes a proposal for a Development Code Amendment to regulate siting of such uses Citywide.

Neighborhood residents on the Task Force believe the report does not strongly emphasize the continued desire of neighborhoods for a dry overlay district in East Dallas.

Another issue: Many believe the report has Citywide implications, but Pleasant Grove, Oak Cliff and South Dallas are in the process of dealing with the issue separately to suit conditions in their neighborhoods.

Although the Plan Commission agreed to reconsider the report July 30, little movement is expected.

HOME BUSINESS UPDATE: Staff members for the City’s Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee presented a revised proposal July 27 amending the Development Code to permit on-site advertising for home businesses.

As reported last month, the increasing number of home businesses was not foreseen during drafting of the existing zoning ordinance, which restricts the ability of home businesses to advertise – through on-site signage – their businesses. The original ordinance was drafted to protect neighbors from additional traffic and noise.

The staff decided to make the ordinance more specific so City code enforcement inspectors would be able to enforce its provisions. The proposal tightens the definition of home businesses, for example, by prohibiting more than five customers on the premises at one time or more than 10 trips per day to the premises by customers.

Other provisions prohibit home businesses from producing fumes, vibrations, glare, electrical interference or generally creating a “nuisance” or other ordinance violations.

Among the specific uses prohibited as “home occupations” include animal hospitals, car repair shops, clinics, private clubs, restaurants, stables and kennels.

Additional opportunity for neighborhood input will be provided at Plan Commission and City Council meetings. We’ll keep you informed of new details.

CITYPLACE LIVING: The owner of the large tract of land best known as the Cityplace site, which straddles N. Central Expressway near Haskell and Lemmon avenues, is seeking revisions to the existing Planned Development District affecting the property.

The owner’s proposal de-emphasizes office-oriented uses, favoring instead a mix of both upscale and moderate-income multifamily development, as well as retail development on the land east of Central.

The owners have been meeting with surrounding neighborhoods for several weeks, and response appears to be favorable.

If multifamily development at Cityplace is successful, and similar development nearby on McKinney has been extremely popular, retail development is a logical next step.

Additional details will be reported when the property owner has submitted its application to the City Planning Department.

WORTH/ALCALDE ACTION: The proposed rezoning of properties at Worth and Alcalde streets into a Planned Development District is scheduled for City Council consideration Aug. 12. Contact planner Richard Jensen at 670-3086, for more information.

ORDINANCE REVISIONS PLANNED: Planning staff members have been meeting with neighbors interested in revising the ordinance creating the Hollywood-Santa Monica Conservation District. No details have been made public, but it appears the revisions are intended to “fine tune” the existing ordinance to ensure it is both effective and enforceable, without being unreasonably restrictive.

We’ll let you know how the proposal progresses.


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