Davis/Bishop Land Use Study

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A discussion on urban design and land use

Vote Yes for Davis-Bishop Land Use Plan

Final Report_Final PDF revised 02-10-10

Later this week, the City of Dallas Planning Commission is scheduled to decide on accepting a package of zoning recommendations that will have significant influence over building renovations, new construction and transportation along Davis Street and the adjacent neighborhoods.  The area under question is large and it engages a broad range of families, individuals and business owners.  While the list of recommendations is long, it has been thoughtfully constructed with guidance and input from local residents. If accepted, the new land use plan will impact the structure, income and wealth of some of the best neighborhoods in all of North Texas.

We all want Oak Cliff to remain a desirable place to live, but it is not realistic to think that our community can sustain itself by remaining static.  Our physical environment must have the flexibility to change with cultural attitudes and economic needs.  The current zoning regime suppresses and discourages many aspects of a better built environment.  The land use recommendations presented to the commission help with directing the future of North Oak Cliff so it can include active travel, shopping local, meeting at the corner, working across the street or trading that big house in East Kessler for a townhouse on 7th Street.

By definition, planning is about tomorrow.  This land use study takes on the difficult assignment of looking into the future and thinking about how the Davis and Bishop corridors should respond to our next 1,000, 3,000 or 5,000 neighbors.  Where might they live?  How will they get there?  Think about who these residents might be and then ask this question:  Is my conclusion relevant for the next 50 years?

For the planning commission, this decision requires distance from personalities, a polite and deaf ear for anecdotes and thick skin for pounding fists.  I served a term on the commission and know first-hand that on a case this comprehensive there will never be a consensus on each issue.  I know how difficult it is to take sides between opposing friends and neighbors.  Nonetheless, by the end of Thursday afternoon a vote must be taken.

I am encouraging the planning commission to accept the recommendations.  These changes to current zoning guidelines are a strong response to our challenges involving all aspects of demographics, traffic, housing and local commerce.

Michael A. Mendoza

Our community should offer a variety of housing options so people from all income levels can come and live in Oak Cliff at all stages of life.

♦ The last census, taken in 2000, showed 60% of the households in Stephens Park, West Kessler, Kessler Park and Kings Highway earning more than $78,000 annually.

♦ Further East along Davis Street, fewer than 7% of households in the L.O. Daniels and Lake Cliff area earned anywhere near that amount.  The median household income in these neighborhoods was closer to $25,000.

♦ Home ownership ½ mile from the intersection of Bishop and 9th Street was around 28%.

♦ Income levels measure  another dimension of diversity.  The land use plan would attract housing options for a variety of income levels.

♦ Davis Street, between Cedar Hill and Tyler carries more than 12,500 vehicles each day.  Between Polk and Edgefield vehicle traffic jumps to more than 17,000 trips.  Compare these totals to Oak Lawn at 16,000 and Lovers Lane at 18,000 trips per day.

♦ The proposed land use plan addresses traffic issues by encouraging a built environment promoting active travel and localized public transportation.

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