Monday, September 04, 2006

What is a Conservation District?

From the City of Dallas website:

"A Conservation District is a zoning tool used to help communities protect certain characteristics in their neighborhood. Conservation Districts have existed in the city of Dallas since 1988. These districts exist primarily in East Dallas and Oak Cliff. They concentrate on protecting such things as architecture styles, densities of the area, heights of structures, and setback guidelines."

A Conservation District is very different from a Historic District. One difference is that a Historic District focuses on preserving original houses, exactly as they were first built, while a CD focuses on preserving the character of an area as a whole. Therefore, Conservation Districts are generally much less restrictive than Historic Districts.

Another difference is how long it takes building plans to be reviewed by City staff. From the same website: "For historic districts, it is necessary to have alterations reviewed by city staff members, neighborhood taskforces, and finally the Landmark Commission. This process can take 4 – 6 weeks. For conservation districts, alterations are reviewed by city staff members only. This can take as little as 1 day or up to 2 weeks depending on the work to be done."

CD Myths and Facts

Here are some common myths and important facts about Conservation Districts.

Myth: A CD will prevent new construction in our neighborhood.

Fact: New construction has occurred in many, if not all, existing Conservation Districts in the City of Dallas. City Council member Angela Hunt can provide details about the beautiful homes that have been built in M Streets East since their CD was passed.

Myth: If we get a CD for our neighborhood, I won't be able to add on to my house.

Fact: Conservation Districts can be designed so that people are able to add on and significantly expand their homes. If you're worried about the effects of a CD on any plans that you have for your house, the best thing to do is to come to a Community Meeting and ask City staff how your plans can be accommodated.

Myth: A CD means that the government can control what I do to my house.

Fact: First, this CD study was not initiated by the city, but by homeowners in the neighborhood -- 75 percent of them! Second, the government already controls what you can do to your house through base zoning. A CD would allow us as a neighborhood to decide on criteria to be preserved. Our own preferences would then be written into an ordinance that is enforced by City staff.

Myth: If my house burns down, I won't be able to rebuild it the way I want.

Fact: If your house burns down or is damaged, you would be allowed to rebuild it as it stood before the damage occurred. However, if you decided to rebuild it in a different way, the rebuilt parts would have to follow the guidelines established by the CD ordinance.

Welcome to the LNCD blog

The purpose of this blog is to share information and news about the proposed Lakewood North Conservation District. The study was authorized by a unanimous vote of the Dallas City Plan Commission on Sept. 14, 2006.