Recategorizing zoning to reflect reality.
[Editor’s note: Jon Anderson is a columnist for CandysDirt.com. His opinions are his own.]
The actions and words of many city plan commissioners and city council members should be a warning to all who live in multi-family areas – discrete zoning designations don’t matter. Personal investments made in part because of existing zoning don’t matter. You as residents don’t matter.
When the Lincoln Katy Trail project was at CPC, chairwoman Gloria Tarpley said in response to huge neighborhood opposition to changing the MF-2 designation to MF-3, “we do this all the time.” For those uninitiated in city zoning, among other things, the change would increase buildable height from 36 feet to 90 feet. It’s also real estate alchemy, administratively making land a lot more valuable for the sellers.
When the Lincoln project hit city council in January, Mayor Rawlings swept away neighborhood opposition to concentrate on snagging less-affordable housing that currently exists (and calling it a “win” for affordable housing in north Dallas).
This is just one example of a city unconcerned with residents in multi-family areas. For some reason, city leaders think that any change is OK, and that residents should just buck-up. Somehow, they feel that constant worrying about huge increases in density is part of what living in a multi-family are means – in contrast to near bullet-proof zoning in single-family neighborhoods.
In a Faustian deal, multi-family areas are the carpet Dallas can sweep its increasing population under as a way to preserve single-family homes, which are rarely converted to multi-family. The exception (of course) is a sliding scale of resident income. The poorer the well-located area, the more likely single-family will be swept away in gentrification. Middle-class and up? You’re pretty golden.