We’ve all seen one of these “leg parties” from the street

First I came for your kitchen, now I’m coming for your garage.

I’ve noticed a trend over the past year at the Oak Lawn Committee – applicants seeking less parking than is required by the PD-193 ordinance. A hotel will be seeking half of the parking required, and an office building cutting a third. Each one makes the case that less car use equates to less garage space needed. Even outside the city core, the Preston Road and Northwest Highway task force meetings were presented with multiple traffic studies which showed that intersection’s traffic had been decreasing for nearly 20 years.

Outside Dallas, I’ve also read this past week of projects in urban Chicago where heart-stoppingly few parking spaces are being proposed in new residential projects. A mixed hotel-condo project with 280 hotel rooms and 290 condos would offer just 26 parking spaces. Another 39-story, 368-unit residential tower proposed 158 parking spaces while an 11-story, 102-unit building would have just 31 spaces – each a far cry from the expected two spaces per unit minimum. For Dallasites, these projects are heart-stopping because unlike Dallas, Chicago has a robust public transportation system in addition to ride-sharing services. Many municipalities are taking notice and updating parking minimums.

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Exxir - Bishop Arts - Interior

Rendering of interior plazas of the Bishop Arts Village project   (Source bishoparts.com)

Update 12/16/16 from yesterday’s Plan Commission meeting: after much conversation, commissioners voted to hold the motion until the January 19th meeting. Neighbors will be meeting with Rob Baldwin, the developer’s zoning rep after the New Year to clarify recent changes to the zoning amendment request.

Arts Village, LLC (aka Exxir Capital, aka the Nazarian family) will be going before the Dallas City Plan Commission Board this week to amend the zoning for Planned Development District No. 830, just south of the Bishop Arts District in North Oak Cliff.

Nazerian Subdistrict Map

In September, I reported on this zoning change request, and since then the developers have held at least one community meeting. Yet they failed to include two of the most important requests I heard at that meeting:

1) To word the 15,000-square-foot market use to prohibit one singular tenant, and …

2) To limit hotel and entertainment uses to the portion of the 11 acre site south of 9th Street, where these uses are currently planned to be built — away from the residential neighborhood north of 9th and surrounding the development site.

We must remember that in this PD, zoning change requests are not subject to a specific development plan. Once uses are allowed by right in an area, plans can change, even owners can change. And although the Nazerians have proven to have great ideas for this development, these changes effect the land use allowances for the indefinite future, regardless of who the owner is.

At Thursday’s meeting, their zoning request will include the changes listed below, to be applicable within this one new subdistrict which will cover the entire 11 acre site resting between Melba Street, Madison Street, 10th Street, and Bishop Ave.

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Video courtesy of Uptown Dallas, Inc.

Something has to be done. Uptown is beginning to feel a bit like Greenville Ave. did a few years back. Remember? The late night crime and violence, residential streets overrun with youthful overindulgence, and uninvited visitors parking in front of residences … to put it nicely.  Uptown is on the cusp of being known as similarly problematic area — unless we can do something now to curb that trajectory. As Uptown Dallas, Inc. works diligently to attract more young families, improve the schools, and focus on great parks, the late night bar scene is (literally) spilling into the streets and driving a higher police presence.

Two potential solutions have surfaced and exploration began last night at a formal community input session hosted by the City of Dallas Department of Sustainable Development and Construction:

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