Proposed changes to parking and landscaping at Hillside Village. (Photo by Jaime Dunaway.)

A zoning change application at the Hillside Village Shopping Center aims to update parking and replace landscaping that was cut down in 2018, according to documents filed with the City of Dallas in early November.

Hillside Village is zoned under Planned Development No. 79. It was established in 1975 for the construction of the center under Shopping District regulations, which set building height and landscaping standards. Parking standards in PD 79 follow rules set in the defunct 1960 Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, which does not allow shared parking.

The purpose of the zoning change application is to amend PD 79 and update the base zoning to a Commercial Retail District, which would allow mix-use parking, according to the application.

The current zoning treats the three buildings in the southeast corner of the shopping center as three separate entities with their own separate parking lots. That creates problems when new tenants want to lease a space because city officials believe there’s not enough parking. The zoning change asks the City of Dallas to treat the property as a single lot for parking purposes, so when new tenants move in, there will be sufficient parking.

Parking spaces will not be added or removed, nor will they be narrowed or widened. The only difference neighbors will see is additional tree planters in the parking lot, said Rob Baldwin, principal of the zoning consultant company Baldwin Associates.

“The incentive is to increase flexibility to draw more tenants to the space to keep it vibrant and full,” Baldwin said.

The amendment also includes an updated landscape plan. The application calls for adequately sized landscape islands for large trees and the replacement of trees on the east and south side of the building, where a tree buffer had been cut down.

Neighbors reported that the trees came down in 2018 near the intersection of Hillside Drive and Winton Street. The trees blocked the view of the shopping center and created a noise buffer from the traffic.

Chief arborist Philip Erwin said in an email at the time that he did not see a tree removal permit for the property on file.

Landscaping along Hillside Drive requires a minimum number of certain trees along the east and west screening walls, and the trees must be supplemented with numerous shrubs, according to PD 79. All landscaped areas must be properly maintained and kept in a healthy condition, with replacement plants for those that die. 

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Without the trees, rain runoff increases and flows across the parking lot into surrounding neighborhoods.

More than 20 homeowners near BlueFair Lake submitted comments at a public meeting Tuesday that said the runoff settles in their backyards and the pond. The volume of water from the parking lot has also increased the erosion of the creek that flows into White Rock Lake, they said.

“We are opposed  to changes that contribute to the increase of trash and pollutants caused by increased parking,” according to a written statement.

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