Head over to Stonewall Jackson Elementary tonight at 6:30 tonight as Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston will be hosting an informational session regarding the recent proposal to allow homeowners to build and rent garage apartments and guest houses inside the district.
Right now, city code precludes the construction of a full-sized kitchen in an “accessory dwelling.” To add one constitutes a duplex — two separate residences on one lot — which is another zoning category entirely. Of course, we have heard that what constitutes a “full-sized kitchen” varies significantly depending on who you talk to at Dallas City Hall. But as more people choose to tear down homes in the M Streets and build new, the lure of rental income compels many property owners to go ahead and put an apartment on top of that detached garage while they’re at it.
Proponents of urbanization and say that in order to generate the density that will create the kind of critical mass for truly walkable neighborhoods, garage apartments and their more innocuous relative the “granny flat” will become a necessity. Plus, with property values soaring and tax assessments climbing in step, more people are being priced out of the M Streets. Building and renting a back house is a great way to generate income, helping people afford their homes and providing affordable rentals, all in one step.
Sounds simple, right?
Of course, like most everything that affects homeowners, there are those who feel that these kinds of developments will irrevocably change the nature and feel of neighborhoods, creating parking issues, and put a strain on infrastructure. If every home in one block added on a “granny flat” or topped their detached garage with an apartment and then leased it out, how many additional cars would that add to already gridlocked streets?
Some M Streets residents have been told that an ordinance allowing this kind of development is a forgone conclusion. Of course, there’s no better way to galvanize a vocal resistance than to basically steamroll them.
If you want to find out more or want to share your opinion on the matter (and who doesn’t these days?) head to Stonewall Jackson Elementary tonight.