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Dallas Twilight

Why We Need the Oak Cliff Demolition Delay Overlay

Chad West May 22, 2018

Oak Cliff is lucky to have a battalion of individuals and organizations committed to the preservation of the historic character of our neighborhoods and the special structures that give make it a great place to live and work.

One relatively new way that the fabric of our neighborhood can be protected from over-development is through the proposed Demolition Delay Overlay Districts. 

On May 3, the City Plan Commission opened an Authorized Hearing to consider expansion of the Demolition Delay Overlay Districts to include areas of East Dallas and the Greater Oak Cliff area. In the next few months, the Commission will hear from community groups, and neighbors weighing in on the depth and scope of the proposed overlay districts.  Right now, the proposed overlay districts would only delay demolition projects on buildings that are fifty-years or older from the date of the demolition permit. 

What is an Overlay? 

The language describing these areas deserves some explanation. In the world of city planning, an “overlay” simply means a land use designation that modifies the basic underlying use in some manner. So, if you were to take a look at a map of Dallas, an overlay might be illustrated as a shaded area where additional regulations apply before any changes to the property can be made. Historical areas are among those most commonly subject to an overlay.

If a property owner or developer applies for a demolition permit, that permit will be delayed by 50 days to give community leaders and city staff a chance to consider whether the building is preservation worthy, and, if so, a bit more time to work with the developer to look for ways to save it. Right now, without the overlays, the demolition delay period lasts a few short days after the demo permit application is filed, which is generally considered insufficient time for city or community input into a project. It is important to note, however, that the demo delay overlays cannot prevent demolition and will not require the developers to meet with the city or with the community. The overlays simply give everyone more time to come to the table to discuss alternatives to demolition. 

Interested in getting involved in preserving and protecting our neighborhoods? Check out the Fawn Ridge Neighborhood Association launch page.


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