We covered this project not too long ago. It’s a sticky situation wherein the Dallas Housing Authority made plans to construct more than 400 low-income housing units in Oak Lawn without any kind of community dialogue. The units are to be built on the site of a razed former DHA development that was riddled with crime and drugs, and dragged down surrounding property values.
DHA finally met with community advocates on Tuesday, but according to this report from nearby residents who maintain the RezoningDHA.com website, the Dallas Housing Authority is unwilling to consider a smaller, mixed income development. Read the entire letter below:
A small group of community representatives met with the Dallas Housing Authority (DHA) on Tuesday of this week. During the meeting, DHA stated that they are not willing to work with the community in regards to the number of units they plan to build on the proposed property on Kings Road, nor are they willing to adjust the income mix of the property. DHA has made it clear their mission is to build as much low & very low income housing as possible. This is despite the concerns of the community and that they previously told homeowners, buyers and developers that the property would be mixed income.
Community members voiced concerns in the meeting about the potential for increased crime if they double the number of units on the property, potential for overflow parking into the area streets, having all low & very low income units on the property, and many other issues. During the meeting, DHA provided details that the proposed zoning changes would allow up to 65’ tall buildings compared to the current restriction of only 36’ and only 410 required parking spaces compared to the 820 that would currently be required.
Based on feedback from the group, DHA agreed to look into the possibility of flipping the site plan so that the main entrance would be on Hawthorne versus Kings Road and possibly making the back gate on Kings only a fire access gate. They also agreed to investigate adding a gated entrance, perhaps providing space for a Dallas Police Department substation on the property, and possibly reserving 15-19% of the property for seniors or disabled individuals. Their current plan does provide some security features as the building acts as a barrier to limit access to only the front or back entrances as well as cameras on the property, but these do not provide assurances for other non-DHA properties in the community.
None of these items are guaranteed as DHA has only agreed to further investigate these items, so your help is needed in sharing your thoughts with DHA as well as your concerns with the zoning & planning commission.
Attempts to contact DHA president MaryAnn Russ and VP of Development Tim Lott for comment haven’t been returned.