By Michael Amonett
An authorized hearing has been set in motion to rezone an area in Oak Cliff at the intersection of Hampton and Clarendon roads. The area was once a small farming community settled in the 1870s called Jimtown. Clarendon Road was Jimtown Road, and was built along the old Santa Fe Railroad right of way. Historic buildings and car repair shops dot the area, including the Sunset Theater built in 1922 at 1112 S. Hampton. The theater partially burned in 1957 and today is part of the M.S. Lumber Yard. Oak Cliff was annexed into Dallas in 1903, and Jimtown was annexed later in 1915.
Authorized hearings can be initiated by an applicant, the City Council, or can start with the City Planning Commission. This particular one was authorized by the CPC and former CPC member Chad West at the behest of some of the area commercial property owners. The area fronting Hampton is currently zoned Community Retail (CR). Clarendon is also zoned CR as well as Community Services (CS). There is a small parcel adjacent to the CS zoning on Clarendon that is zoned exclusively for parking and approximately 45 single-family homes in the southwest corner are zoned multi-family.
These zoning classifications are outdated and unstable. The single-family homes can become apartments or shared-access condos by right at any time. The one- and two-story historic buildings that sit directly on Clarendon and Hampton roads can be torn down for a CVS or a Wells Fargo and pulled back away from the street with parking in the front. Not only would you lose irreplaceable historic resources, you’d lose the current urban streetscape forms that interact with pedestrians and cyclists and replace them with parking lots that break up the historic block-face. The businesses inside these buildings currently are stable mom-and-pop businesses; most of them Latino.