Neighbors in West Oak Cliff are working together with the city of Dallas on a bold and important new plan.
It’s called the West Oak Cliff Planning Initiative. The hope is that it will help set their community up for success for years to come by giving the city a guidebook on what the people who actually live there need and want.
“I found when I was on the planning commission, that if you are a neighbor and you don’t take control of the land use and the planning in your neighborhood, somebody else is going to do it for you,” said councilman Chad West of District 1. “It’s usually going to be a developer and sometimes they have good intentions and sometimes they don’t.”
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The initiative was created in 2020 by councilman West and the city of Dallas Planning and Urban Design Department.
West said the hope is to preserve the neighborhood and as part of the area plan, neighbors are being asked how they want to do that for decades to come. The area has several areas that are upcoming locations for rezoning.
So far, the initiative has held community meetings and surveys to figure that out.
These maps shows their responses.
Some want better lighting, sidewalk improvements and the need for development in certain parts of the community. Others have voiced the need to clear away food deserts, designate where future schools can go, and look at ways to best utilize the land around the three DART stations in West Oak Cliff.
Before any major moves are made by anyone, the residents themselves are hoping this plan can give those city departments, zoning and developers something to follow for years to come.
“The city area plan is not binding. It’s not binding on anyone but it is a strong suggestive document that this is what you should do. I’ll tell you as a councilmember and the goes for a lot of my colleagues -- they are very hesitant to go against an area plan, especially if it’s a recently passed one. We definitely try to follow the area plan to the letter,” said West.
Once community meetings are completed, West said the next step is to write out the plan, present it to the council later this year and hope that it passes.
This isn't the first time a neighborhood has done something like this but councilman West says it's a rare accomplishment because you need a lot of willing people working together to make it happen.
Another virtual community meeting is planned tonight in Spanish. Click here to register.