Dallas residents opposed to city's housing development plan proposal

DALLAS - The city of Dallas is working to update its comprehensive plan for the first time in 18 years.

The plan is called "Forward Dallas" and includes a provision that would allow multiplexes to be built on single-family lots.

There are some homeowners who aren't happy about it.

The meeting Thursday evening was filled with two hours of comments from fired-up residents. The majority urged the city to not allow multiplexes in single-family neighborhoods.

The specially called city planning commission meeting opened with an example of the impact of the Forward Dallas proposal.

"I recently had a thoughtful discussion with a homeowner who had plans to remodel his home but postponed his plans after hearing he would be losing his single-family zoning," said commission chairman Tony Shidid. "This is, of course, incorrect."

Shidid says Forward Dallas is not a rezoning document.

"We have no intention of causing harm to the communities we call home," he said.

Many who came out to speak in favor of allowing multiplexes in what are now single-family neighborhoods, argued duplexes and triplexes are needed to lower the cost of available housing.

"I can't afford to live in this city," one resident said. "My buying power is less than when I moved here."

"My family was priced out of a Dallas zip code a generation ago," another resident said. "They had to move to McKinney."

But others questioned if smaller attached homes would actually be affordable or simply create more expensive luxury houses.

"Where is affordable in this plan? I don't see nothing that will make it affordable," said South Dallas resident Gregory Demis. "I think it benefits the industrial people, developers trying to make money out of it."

A supporter of more multi-family housing agreed, saying density alone does not equal affordable without policy to make it that way.

"I live in West Dallas. You cannot tell someone in West Dallas that density and missing middle housing is the answer. Because the very first homes in West Dallas to sell for over half a million dollars were attached townhomes," the supporter said. "They know that more density in our neighborhoods means more luxury, unattainable and unaffordable housing."

Others expressed environmental concerns about more density leading to smaller yards with less soil to absorb water.

The city plan commission will receive a full briefing on the plan next Thursday.