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Saturday, September 24, 2022
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Dallas Plan Commission Recommends Zoning Changes


New three-story townhomes tower over a smaller, older home in Dallas' Elm Thicket neighborhood. | Image by 5 NBC DFW

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A Dallas Plan Commission voted July 21, to recommend the approval for size restrictions on new homes built in the Elm Thicket neighborhood.

The restrictions would limit developers to 25-foot tall buildings and reduce lot coverage from 45% to 35% for two-story homes.

These restrictions, debated for years, would affect 1,700 residences. Supporters like Jonathan Maple argue that the new zoning limitations would make housing more affordable and “push the city to put something in place for middle and lower-income people.”

Another supporter, Olga Smith, says, “We’re not trying to keep anybody out. We’re just asking that if you come to the neighborhood, that you abide by the parameters that are set forth.”

Opponents to the restriction worry about “downzoning” affecting other neighborhoods.

Jennifer Brower is among the opponents. She believes that downzoning will lower the property values in the area.

Opponents have a website dedicated to attempting to stop the zoning changes. Their articles state that most citizens oppose the changes but are not being heard. They also claim that the restrictions are an attempt “to remove our property rights.”

Elm Thicket is a historically black neighborhood. Maples and other supporters of the zoning restrictions claim that the new, larger developments in the neighborhood have been gentrifying the area and pushing lower-income people out. Some also believe the “history and integrity of the neighborhood” need to be protected.

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