Support a Pro-Housing Forward Dallas

What is Forward Dallas?

Forward Dallas is the city's Comprehensive Land Use Plan. It helps the city make decisions on future zoning and land use decisions. It does not change any existing zoning by itself, but it's an important document that staff and the Comprehensive Land Use Committee has spent several years putting together.  Forward Dallas contains a lot of pro-housing ideas that will bring us closer to a more affordable, more livable Dallas. Check out more on the highlights of Forward Dallas below.

You can read and learn about the full plan on the city's website

Right now, Forward Dallas is at the City Plan Commission, where it will undergo further examination and refinement. The best thing that you can do to support right now is to use our email template to contact them. Currently, NIMBYs are trying to push back on the plan and maintain the status quo that has made Dallas so unaffordable. 

We know that the future of Dallas relies on making housing affordable and abundant across our entire city. Forward Dallas does a great job of recognizing that this housing should be scattered and not concentrated into underinvested areas or close to highways. 

Take one minute and email the CPC Commissioners that you support a Forward Dallas plan that is pro-housing.

Highlight #1: Community Residential Placetype

The Community Residential Placetype roughly lines up with currently single-family neighborhoods in Dallas. It's by far the most common placetype at 44% of the total land in Dallas. The only other two placetypes above 5% are Regional Open Space (19%) and Community Mixed Use (10%).

Forward Dallas calls for both townhomes (Single Family Attached) and Multiplexes to be a part of these neighborhoods. The plan also calls for allowing ADUs by-right across the city. It rightly recognizes that we can't wall off half of the city to more neighbors!!!

If we want to have a diverse and vibrant population in Dallas, we need diverse and vibrant housing. Other cities, like Seattle, that tried to only build along corridors/in certain areas have found the strategy has serious shortcomings. 

Now for the big caveat. With the exception of ADUs, Forward Dallas isn't saying that these things should be allowed by right. It's saying that areas within these neighborhoods should have them. Exactly where and how will be decided further in the future. 

Highlight #2: Emphasis on Mixed Use

There is no "commercial only" placetype in Forward Dallas. Instead, Forward Dallas has Mixed Use placetypes, ranging from a neighborhood to regional level. This should yield new housing at underused strip malls all across Dallas. 

Commercial centers, or strip malls, are all over Dallas, usually at major intersections and often over-parked. Developers are already looking at changing some of these into more mixed-use.

It's exciting to see Forward Dallas embracing Mixed-Use and increased housing in commercial areas. In this way, we are following Minneapolis, which has seen a lot of its new housing built on major corriords and intersections.

Highlight #3: More ADUs

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are a fantastic way to create more affordable housing in existing neighborhoods without disrupting the area. Forward Dallas is recommending that Dallas amend its ADU ordinance and allow for ADUs by right. 

Right now, you can build an ADU in Dallas, but you must apply to the Board of Adjustment in order to build one. By default, an ADU can't be rented or more than 25% of the existing house on a lot, and getting an exception to those rules must also be sought at the Board of Adjustment. Because of these onerous rules, very few ADUs are built these days in Dallas. However, the experience of California shows that when barriers to building ADUs are removed, they become an invaluable source of new housing.

ADUs are a great way for inter-generational living and greater diversity in housing options. Imagine, an aging senior can build an ADU and move into it. They could then have their children live in the main house, or they could rent it to another family that is looking to live in Dallas.