With Oak Cliff Gateway Rezoning, What Will More Density do to Oak Cliff’s Personality?

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The Oak Cliff Gateway rezoning will add around 900 new regulations to areas in North Oak Cliff, but not everyone agrees on the plan. (Map: The Oak Cliff Advocate)

One of the largest rezoning proposals in Dallas history, the Oak Cliff Gateway is a tremendous effort to polish and brighten North Oak Cliff’s more public face that has been several years in the making

But not everyone sees the Gateway plan as the best way to redevelop Oak Cliff. Its lack of building standards grates the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League, which pointed to the new Magnolia apartments as an example of how a new development can be completely out of character in an established neighborhood. And many residents feel burned by the Bishop/Davis rezoning, which has several flaws that are yet to be addressed. Likewise, it’d be naive to assume that the proposed gateway will only have positive impacts on the neighborhood.

Truly, Oak Cliff is a case study in redevelopment with consideration. But what will the new development regulations do to an area that wants to maintain its own feel, keep its character, and maintain some of the charm that makes Oak Cliff a great place to live?

To find out, you have to read this farewell to the “Oak Cliff ‘Oh’ “ from The Advocate. They offer an extensive timeline of Oak Cliff’s redevelopment, including some information about the Gateway rezoning.

And while it seems to be a very thought-out plan that might be worth implementing, some very influential preservationists disagree with parts of the proposal. Just this month, the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League proposed a list of economic incentives for preserving existing structures within the Oak Cliff Gateway. The proposal would:

1. Advocate 100% reduction in parking requirements for retail/office uses in Legacy Structures
2. Advocate 50% reduction in parking requirements for residential uses in Legacy Structures
3. Advocate Conditional Use permits for restaurants, office and retail located in CIty of Dallas Landmarks in any area of the Gateway.
4. Advocate Conditional Use permits for Bed and Breakfasts in City of Dallas Landmarks or National Register properties in any area of the Gateway.
5. Remove the Lancaster Commercial National Register Historic District from the Gateway or cap the height at 2-stories

The Gateway plan could head to the full council as soon as next month. It’s definitely a case you’ll want to watch.

What are your thoughts on this ambitious rezoning proposal?

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Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for CandysDirt.com. While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

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  1. Ken Lampton says

    For those of us who were involved with Lower Greenville Avenue in the 1980s, the upcoming changes in the Oak Cliff Gateway seem like “same song, second verse.”
    While it has been wonderful in many ways to see the Lower Greenville Area and the M Street Area become “respectable” again, that extreme gentrification has erased most of the “grittiness and edginess” that used to be a defining feature of the neighborhood. Too much grittiness is frightening. But the elimination of all grittiness is so—how to put this?—so Highland Park.

    Of course, there is a difference between what happened in the Lower Greenville neighborhoods in the 1980s and what will happen in the northeast corner of Oak Cliff in the 2010s. The folks who make Dallas housing policy today are concerned about providing high-density housing for the massive influx of new residents expected to move to Dallas in the next 20 years. Therefore the Oak Cliff gentrification will come with a much greater reliance upon very high density condominiums and apartment developments.

    That’s probably the way it has to be. But that policy necessarily will result in a radical redefinition of what it means culturally when people say “I live in Oak Cliff.”

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