Dallas’ Planned Development District Regulations Are Primed to Be Modified

February 15, 2010 | Insights

Dallas Lobbying Ordinance Update:
As reported to you in our November 23 Jackson Walker Land Use e-Alert, the new City of Dallas lobbying registration and reporting ordinance goes into effect on April 1, with some lobbying activities even prior to that date being retroactively reportable depending on the circumstances. As of February 15, the electronic filing and reporting system has not gone up on the City of Dallas website, but when it does, it will appear on the City Secretary’s page. There are two more orientation sessions sponsored by the City Secretary and the City Attorney, on February 25 and March 11, which we will attend as we continue to monitor the implementation of these new and complex requirements. There is already some discussion of modifying parts of the new rules, possibly to grant chambers of commerce, industry organizations, and other non-profit and civic groups the same exemption from lobbying registration and reporting as is now enjoyed by neighborhood groups. We are also closely tracking this discussion. If you have any questions on this topic, please contact Susan Mead at (214) 953-5926 or smead@jw.comBill Dahlstrom at (214) 953-5932 or wdahlstrom@jw.com, or Jonathan Vinson at (214) 953-5941 or jvinson@jw.com.

By Suzan Kedron

The Dallas Zoning Ordinance Committee (ZOC) recently recommended approval of certain amendments to Chapter 51A: The Dallas Development Code’s regulations for Planned Development Districts (PDs). ZOC recommended changes to the current PD regulations that would change the way PD zoning is applied for and how existing PDs are modified. Summarily, ZOC recommended:

1. That a development plan must be submitted (as opposed to a concept plan) if the request area less than 5 acres and (A) inclusive of or adjacent to floodplain, escarpment area, a city park or trail on the City’s master trail plan, or the Turtle Creek environmental corridor; or (B) the request has residential adjacency.

For purposes of this provision, it was recommended that residential adjacency be triggered if the request area is adjacent to, or directly across a street 64 feet or less in width or an alley from, a single family (R, R(A)), duplex (D, D(A)), townhouse (TH, TH(A)), clustered housing (CH), multifamily (MF-1, M-1(A), MF-2, or MF-2(A)) district or an area of a planned development district restricted to uses permitted in these districts that has a height restriction of 40 feet or less.

2. The six-month requirement for development plan submission after passage of a conceptual PD was removed.

3. Certain utility uses are allowed to submit a conceptual plan instead of a development plan regardless of size or residential adjacency.

4. The site analysis requirement which was already a part of the submission requirements, yet was rarely required, will now likely be required with most submittals.

5. The development plan requirements were moved in their entirety to precede the conceptual plan requirements and were modified as follows:

(a) Topography contour intervals requirements were modified.

(b) Cemeteries and historic landmarks now must be shown.

(c) Location of flood plains, water bodies, creeks, marshes, drainage areas, conservation areas, tree groups, and any other significant natural features to be preserved in development must now be shown.

(d) Location of all major natural or manmade surface drainage features must now be shown.

(e) The director may waive only the following requirements and shall notify the City Plan Commission of any items that have been waived:

(i) Topography contours;

(ii) Location of proposed land uses;

(iii) Indication of any special traffic regulation facilities proposed or required;

(iv) Indication of each phase of development if separate phases are proposed.

6. The conceptual plan requirements were modified as follows and now must also include:

(a) Location of significant natural features preserved during development.

(b) Location of cemeteries and historic landmarks.

(c) Delineation of all undeveloped areas to be conserved as open space.

(d) Location of all required screening and buffer areas between the site and adjacent property and between land uses within the site.

7. Minor amendments to the development plan have been modified to allow for three types of procedures to process a minor amendment: the director procedure, the commission procedure, and the public notice procedure.

(a) The director procedure allows the director to approve a minor amendment to a development plan without notification if:

(i) The purpose of the amendment is to bring the request area into compliance with screening requirements; or

(ii) The proposed amended development plan:

(A) Does not have residential adjacency;

(B) Does not increase enclosed floor area;

(C) Does not increase structure height;

(D) Does not change uses;

(E) Does not permit access to a street for which no ingress or egress point was previously shown; and

(F) Does not reduce the unimproved area or buffer area on the perimeter of the property.

(b) The commission procedure allows the City Plan Commission to approve a minor amendment to a development plan without notification if the proposed amended development plan:

(i) Does not have residential adjacency;

(ii) Does not change uses; and

(iii) Does not reduce designated perimeter buffer area or designated open space.

(c) The public notice procedure may be followed for minor amendments that do not qualify for the director procedure or for the city plan commission procedure.

For purposes of this provision, a request site has residential adjacency if the portion of the development plan being amended is within 200 feet of:

(a) a lot in a single family (R, R(A)), duplex (D, D(A)), townhouse (TH, TH(A)), clustered housing (CH), multifamily (MF-1, M-1(A), MF-2, or MF-2(A)) district; or

(b) an area of a planned development district that:

(i) is restricted to uses permitted in single family (R, R(A)), duplex (D, D(A)), townhouse (TH, TH(A)), clustered housing (CH), multifamily (MF-1, M-1(A), MF-2, or MF-2(A)) districts; and

(ii) has a height restriction of 40 feet or less.

A request site does not have residential adjacency if the request site is separated from the areas listed in Subparagraphs (a) and (b) above by a street that measures 65 feet or more in width.


The two points of concern which warranted more discussion and on which ZOC and Staff did not agree are the changes noted in Paragraph No. 1:

  1. Requiring a minimal five (5) acreage requirement for concept plans.
  2. Including multifamily in the definition of residential adjacency.

Jackson Walker’s Land Use Attorneys have participated in the process and have made general comments to the ZOC recommendation. We would be happy to answer any questions for you and assist you in understanding the impact of the changes on existing and future PDs. For assistance please contact Susan Mead at (214) 953-5926 or smead@jw.com or Suzan Kedron at (214) 953-5943 or skedron@jw.com.

Land Use e-Alert is published by the law firm of Jackson Walker to inform readers of relevant information in land use law and related areas. It is not intended nor should it be used as a substitute for legal advice or opinion which can be rendered only when related to specific fact situations.