Dallas city leaders compromise on new housing development plan

As Dallas city planners look for ways to add more housing, many homeowners have asked city leaders to protect the fabric of single-family neighborhoods.

The Dallas City Plan Commission agreed on a compromise. 

City leaders had originally proposed allowing multiplexes to be built in neighborhoods zoned for one lot and one home, which would bring an end to single-family zoning.

The city planning commission disagreed with that proposal. 


Dallas residents opposed to city's housing development plan proposal

The plan is called "Forward Dallas" and includes a provision that would allow multiplexes to be built on single-family lots. There are some homeowners who aren't happy about it.

As the city of Dallas reconsiders how land should be used in the city for the first time in 18 years, many Dallas residents have concerns. 

"Our property tax will increase from increased density," said Dallas resident Ed Zahra.

In an effort to create more attainable housing, the plan called Forward Dallas proposed allowing multiplexes in neighborhoods zoned for single families now. 

But Tony Shidid, the chair of the Dallas City Plan Commission, questioned the wisdom of the idea.

"The reality is Dallas will not solve its housing crisis by developing 9-plexes in the middle of single-family neighborhoods," he said.

Shidid said the commission received dozens of emails in opposition. 

"Many of you have pointed out Forward Dallas cannot create affordable housing, directly. That is correct," he said.

Creating below-market-rate housing requires financial incentives from the city.

Under the proposal approved by the commission Monday, property owners could still build multiplexes in single-family neighborhoods but as a secondary use. The plan requires approval by the Dallas City Council. 

Commissioner Melissa Kingston said it was a good compromise.

"Single-family homes want no change. Communities that don't change don't thrive," she said. "Others want no rules. That is not fair either."


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Kingston said the move would also protect neighborhoods from gentrification by new development. 

"It’s a good first step to protect working-class neighborhoods," she said. "If we don't do anything, those neighborhoods are on the chop."

Parts of the plan that remained allow tiny houses that are around 400 square feet. 

One example of a tiny home development in Dallas is the cottages at Malcolm X between Deep Ellum and South Dallas. 

The City Plan Commission is expected to continue to make changes to the Forward Dallas plan in the weeks ahead before sending it to the Dallas City Council for approval. That vote could happen as early as August.