SUMMER LOVELAND HAS ALWAYS BEEN DRAWN TO HISTORIC HOMES. She was one of the first residents to sign a petition to help create the Belmont Addition Conservation District. Loveland moved out of state for a while, but when she returned to Dallas 11 years ago, she knew she wanted to live in Lakewood.
“I love the character of old homes. I really fell in love with the Hutsell homes, so that was certainly a draw for me,” she says. “The character and uniqueness of the architecture, the mature trees and the neighborhood feel was certainly a draw.”
Clifford Hutsell was an architect known for designing homes in the Spanish Eclectic style.
Over the past decade, neighbors have been noticing a trend. Older homes are being torn down and replaced with modern ones. Loveland says 12 homes have been demolished in the past 10 years.
“When we have this new construction that’s not complementary to the existing architecture, it breaks down that unique feel of the neighborhood that a lot of people were attracted to in the first place when they moved there,” she says. “People may not realize what it is exactly about the neighborhood that they’re attracted to, and then they come in and build something new that’s actually diminishing the unique character of the neighborhood that they fell in love with in the first place.”
To try to preserve the architectural styles and features of the neighborhood, Loveland and other homeowners nearby have started the process to create a subarea of the Lakewood Conservation District.
A committee of 11 homeowners, Loveland included, has been meeting and working with the City of Dallas. In late February, they submitted the request for a determination of eligibility and finalized the language for a petition.
The City has 65 days to make a determination of eligibility and notify the neighborhood committee. Loveland says the Department of Planning & Urban Design has already reviewed the documents and expects to approve the determination of eligibility soon, though as of publication, no official approval has been given. Staff wants to make sure it has compiled all necessary names and addresses for petitions so they can be provided to the committee as soon as possible.
After receiving approval, the committee has 60 days to get signatures representing 58% of the proposed land area or 58% of the lots. In signing the petitions, neighbors signal their willingness for the process to continue.
The expansion area includes 275 homes on Lakewood Boulevard — where Loveland lives — Lakeshore Drive, Avalon Avenue, Tokalon Drive and Westlake Avenue. It borders the existing Lakewood Conservation District, CD No. 2.
Formed in 1988, the Lakewood Conservation District was the second conservation district in Dallas and followed boundaries of the Country Club Estates development. Included in the conservation district are several homes designed by architects such as Charles Dilbeck and George Marble. Dilbeck, who designed hundreds of Dallas homes in the 1930s, worked with Marble for about six months before venturing off on his own.
Homes in the proposed expansion area date back to 1924.
Though this expansion is classified as a subarea of CD No. 2, it would not need to adopt the same ordinance as CD No. 2. Neighbors will be able to write their own ordinance with their own set of development and architectural standards.
Loveland says one concern she’s heard is that there are too many architectural styles in the proposed expansion area. But the same architectural styles are visible in the existing Lakewood Conservation District, and it has survived for decades.
She’s also heard that building or renovating homes while complying with conservation district ordinances can be expensive. Loveland counters that by saying the increased property value that comes from being located in a conservation district makes up for the associated costs. She says local real estate agents agree with this and have volunteered to speak at neighborhood meetings about how property values would be affected.
“As a member of a community, you need to have a long-term view of what’s best for the community as a whole,” she says. “And in Lakewood, we’re stewards of these homes that have been here for 100 years, and we need to be thinking about the overall character of the neighborhood and the long-lasting feel of our neighborhood and not just what’s happening in the real estate market currently.”
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