May 28, 2008

Letter to Friends of Lake Highlands High School

May 27, 2008

Dear Friends of Lake Highlands High School :

As you may be aware, Dr. Bob Iden, beloved principal of Lake Highlands High School , has announced that he will retire after 11 years of devoted service. This is a loss to the high school, RISD and the community. We will miss him. There are three opportunities for you to join in honoring Dr. Iden.

Retirement Party - LHHS Student Center, June 1, 2008 from 2 - 4 PM

Dr. Bob Iden Scholarship Fund - The Senior Class of 2008 is establishing the Dr. Bob Iden Scholarship with an initial donation of $2,500. The Class of 2008 invites you to participate in honoring Dr. Iden by giving to the Dr. Bob Iden Scholarship fund which will be administered by the Lake Highlands Exchange Club with the criteria for candidacy set by Dr. Iden. Please send your donation to the Exchange Club of Lake Highlands, PO Box 823725 , Dallas , TX 75382 and join us in creating a legacy in Dr. Iden's honor that will have a long-term impact on Lake Highlands High School and our community.

Wildcat Sculpture - LHHS PTA will collect contributions for a wildcat sculpture to be placed in the newly renovated courtyard by the beginning of the 2008-09 school year. Please send your contribution to the LHHS PTA, 9449 Church Road , Dallas , TX 75238 . Contributions of $500.00 or more will be recognized on the wildcat sculpture donor nameplate. A photograph of this wildcat sculpture will be on display at the June 1 retirement party for Dr. Iden. Contributions received exceeding the cost of the sculpture project will be donated to the Dr. Bob Iden Scholarship Fund.


Tonya Bredehoeft & Karen Clardy

Lake Highlands High School

May 27, 2008

From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

Zoning – Part III: Commercial & Mixed Use

In this final article in a series on Dallas Zoning, I will briefly cover the commercial and mixed use developments that are currently being considered in the northeastern area of Texas State House District 107.

Forward Dallas

Forward Dallas is the long range comprehensive development plan adopted by the city two years ago. It allows residents and developers to cultivate areas focusing on land use, transportation, and economic development. These plans are reviewed by a city council committee, the city plan commission, and finally the city council and form the basis for the issuance of bond money. Neighborhoods are encouraged to work within the framework provided by Forward Dallas to bring positive changes to their neighborhoods. More information on the program can be found on the Forward Dallas website (

Garland Road Vision

Specific community driven plans developed under the framework of Forward Dallas are called “Small Area Plans”. The Garland Road Vision project is the major small area plan for Dallas City Council District 9. Former Place 9 Council member, Gary Griffith, formed an advisory committee made up of stakeholders including representatives from neighborhood associations, the Arboretum, Casa Linda Plaza, Doctor’s Hospital, and others.

The goal of the Garland Road Vision project is to examine the corridor from Interstate 635 to the south of White Rock Lake. Plans for future development in the area will be drawn considering the residential, commercial, and transportation needs and desires of those who use Garland Road the most. Some ideas already under discussion for development of the intersection of East Grand Avenue, Garland Road, and Gaston Avenue include expanding green spaces and attracting new businesses.

Currently, the advisory committee is raising funds to hire private planning consultants. These consultants will create the master plan so that the project may apply for grants and bond money from the City of Dallas. Be on the lookout for town hall meetings concerning this development, along with a project kick off later this year. More information on the Garland Road Vision project can be obtained by contacting one of the co-chairs, Susan Enarson, at

Northwest Terrace

After several years of attempting to find a suitable developer, the Northwest Terrace Apartments at Lullwater Drive and Northwest Highway are under demolition and a senior living facility begins construction this fall. The developer, Churchill Residential, Inc., worked with area residents to plan a solution suitable for everyone. Despite an initial rejection from the City Plan Commission, the City Council ultimately approved the necessary zoning changes for this project. Churchill will demolish all of the existing apartments and build senior housing on the 13 acres of land that face Northwest Highway. The other seven acres, located behind the shopping center and the Elks Lodge, are currently up for sale. The L Streets neighborhood association ( has worked tirelessly to facilitate this much needed improvement for their neighborhood.


The contentious Ferndale/Shoreview project was recently approved by the City Council at a meeting packed with community members. This dilapidated shopping center needs revitalization and has been rezoned for mixed-use with up to five stories and 150 units.

Dallas City Council District 10

A small portion of District 107 lies within City Council District 10, where most of the major mixed use developments are happening. Although most of these developments do not lie within the boundaries of District 107, I thought it was important to mention them as they affect our neighborhoods. District 10’s Strategic Plan ( calls for development in two focus areas. The first area is geared toward urban multi-family development. The second, Skillman Corridor, is slated as a mixed-use area which includes the Lake Highlands Town Center and the DART rail station.


I hope that the series of articles on zoning has enlightened you and encouraged you to get involved in one of the many projects that might be going on in your own back yard. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact my district office at 214-370-8305.

From the desk of Rep. Allen Vaught

In recent years, zoning issues have been a prevalent concern in East Dallas due to the history and charm of our neighborhoods. Although zoning is typically an issue handled at the county or city level, several bills were introduced in Austin during the last legislative session that would have changed how local entities handle zoning. These bills did not complete the legislative process. Had they become law, they would have stripped away the local control that neighborhoods rely on for zoning protection. This article is the first of three where I hope to provide some insight on the different zoning processes, summarize the current zoning of District 107, and outline recent proposed changes that have brought about community discussion.

Zoning Basics

Zoning was initially designed as a way to divide up land according to types of use, such as residential, commercial, recreational or industrial. Through zoning land, a municipality can protect people from large-scale sudden changes and help to keep areas cohesive.

Each type of zoning has a set of regulations that controls different variables for property. These regulations cover the use, size, and the placement of structures on a lot. Zoning also controls such details as the height of structures, parking requirements, and the proportion of land that is landscaped or paved.

There are both application and hearing processes that must be completed in order to change the zoning regulations of an area. Having both of these steps ensures that growth and change is possible, yet in a predictable, stable and organized manner. In the city of Dallas, the entire process usually takes around 10-12 weeks and includes two public hearings.

Residential Zoning

Residential neighborhoods all have underlying zoning regulations that give basic guidelines as to the size of the lot and the yard, and use of the space. In general, residential neighborhoods include the distinctions of single family, townhouse, duplex, and multi-family dwellings. More information may be found on the City of Dallas website

In addition to this underlying zoning, an “overlay” may be placed to add further restrictions. The three types of overlays are the Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay, the Conservation District, and the Historic District. Each overlay comes with different rules governing its implementation, and each regulates different aspects of development.

Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay

The easiest overlay to obtain is the Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay or NSO. This type of overlay was created by an ordinance passed by the city in November of 2005. This overlay may only be obtained by areas designated as single-family residences. NSOs were created in response to complaints that the process to create conservation or historic districts was too lengthy, in some cases taking years. Thus, NSOs were designed to be simpler and more expedient than the more traditional zoning alternatives so that residents might have a more immediate voice in the use of land in their neighborhoods.

Since being able to apply for an NSO is a relatively new development, the city staff is making a few changes to the process. Current recommendations include adding an additional public hearing to the process in order to facilitate communication and help minimize tension between neighbors. Although the current process is not perfect, it encourages residents to become more involved in their neighborhoods, and provides an opportunity for many to gain a deeper understanding of how their city government functions.

Neighborhood Stabilization Overlays are handled through the City of Dallas Current Planning Division. You may contact this division at (214) 670-4209 or get more information at

Neighborhood Preservation - Conservation and Historic Districts

For additional regulations, neighborhoods often try to create Conservation or Historic Districts. Both Conservation and Historic Districts can include other buildings besides single-family homes within their districts. These two zoning types are handled through the city’s Long Range Planning Division. This division may be reached at (214) 670-3972, and more information can be obtained at

Conservation Districts have been around since 1988, and exist prevalently in East Dallas. Creating this type of district generally takes between 12-18 months or occasionally longer. A Conservation District usually aims to preserve architectural styles, setbacks, density, and height of structures, but is tailored to the desires of the neighborhood. Alterations to structures must be approved by city staff, but the approval process is typically completed within two business days. More information can be obtained at the Conservation District website at

Historic Districts are also known as City Designated Landmark Districts. The City of Dallas defines Landmark Districts as areas with a significant concentration of structures unified by their architectural style or related historical events. The significance of the district is recognized by its listing on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as being a City of Dallas Landmark District. These areas are protected by historic district ordinances with preservation criteria, specific to each district, administered by the Dallas Landmark Commission. Please visit for more information.

Most of the city’s landmark districts lie in the central areas of the city such as in Oak Cliff, Fair Park, and Old East Dallas. None of these areas fall within the boundaries of District 107.

In the next article, I will explore the zoning in District 107 and provide a brief overview of both the proposed and actual zoning changes that have recently taken place.