I’ve written about new developments in the Oak Lawn and Preston Hollow areas for a few years. Many of you have read about the PD-15 antics with the same hoary relish you watch a reality show. But as Dallas grows, and development reaches into more neighborhoods, there are lessons to be learned once you cut through the caustic tomfoolery.

By-Right vs. Zoning Cases

There are two kinds of developments – by-right and those requiring a zoning case. In a by-right situation, there’s not a lot you can do, it’s as it says on the tin, by right. A building permit is filed and they’re off to the races.

Construction requiring a zoning case is where the action is at. Whether large or small, any variance to a property’s underlying zoning requires the approval of that exception. Those cases are filed at City Hall and are then publicized in the immediate neighborhood – typically within 500 feet of the edges of the property filing the case. Those cases are taken up by and require approval from the City Plan Commission and the City Council. Between all that is the community wooing.

And if you’re going to be wooed by developers, there are some things you should know.

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Jonathan Segal, Architect and DeveloperAward-winning architect and contractor Jonathan Segal lectures across the country about how to be an “Architect as Developer,” and will do so for the Dallas Architecture Forum 7 p.m. March 9 at the Magnolia Theatre in the West Village.

Segal has pioneered the concept of being his own client for all of his projects, which have amassed numerous local, state, and national awards. He was recently was named one of the top 50 architects in the nation by Residential Architect Magazine and was elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 2003.

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