Chad West Mulls Nixing Single-Family Neighborhoods

Screengrab of Chad West from the City Council meeting | Image by City of Dallas

Dallas City Council Member Chad West is pursuing the possibility of eliminating single-family zoning in Dallas and allowing “three- and four-unit” homes to be developed in residential neighborhoods.

West sent a memo to Mayor Eric Johnson seeking a “discussion and possible path forward” for the City to address the housing crisis in Dallas. He requested that the council receive a briefing by staff on “the process and potential effects” of amending the Dallas Development Code and Dallas City Code.

These potential amendments would involve defining “new uses, called ‘tri-plex’ and ‘four-plex,’” in single-family districts and reducing the minimum lot size of these districts.

West also said officials should discuss amending the Dallas City Code so the same code that applies to one- and two-family dwellings would also “apply to all three- and four-unit structures.”

“Housing in the City of Dallas is becoming unaffordable for many would-be residents due to a lack of affordable housing units,” he wrote. “Reducing minimum lot sizes and increasing the number of residential dwelling units allowed on a lot will allow for the development of additional dwelling units in residentially zoned areas.” 

He said the purpose of his requested briefing “is to see what the process would be for amending the construction codes and the Dallas Development Code to allow for the construction of additional dwelling units.”

West’s memo was co-signed by council members Jaime Resendez, Jaynie Schultz, Paula Blackmon, and Adam Bazaldua.

West requested that the briefing be placed on the council’s agenda within the next 30 days. 

In a statement sent to The Dallas Express, West thanked his colleagues for “their shared willingness to dive into a hard discussion about rethinking our suburban-designed city to better accommodate the growth that Dallas is experiencing, and the workforce housing we need for our teachers, healthcare workers, public safety personnel, and many others.”

However, experts have previously contended that eliminating single-family zoning is not an effective way to address housing concerns.

Urban planning expert Lane Kendig wrote, “There is no evidence that eliminating single-family zoning will increase the supply of affordable housing or improve its economic viability.”

He said such proposals “are contrary to zoning’s goal of giving residents, property owners, and officials certainty about what can be built on any given site.”

Furthermore, opponents of such zoning changes argue they would bring urban nuisances and problems like loud noise and crime to suburban communities. Former president Donald Trump even said such initiatives are a “war on the suburbs,” per Yahoo News.

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