ForwardDallas – Planning and developing the city of Dallas through community feedback

dfwnewsa | June 16, 2024 | 0 | Dallas News

ForwardDallas Comprehensive Land Use Plan 2.0 revised draft #3: Neighborhood Mixed Use design. – Photo courtesy of ForwardDallas

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(The Dallas Examiner) – Discrimination based on communities’ race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status has shaped Dallas. Old policies, programs and decision-making methods have contributed to location-based disparities in the city. Throughout its history, public transportation, housing loans, development investments and even utilities like broadband internet have not been equally distributed among neighborhoods.

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Moreover, research has found that individuals in underserved areas – where the rates of unemployment, poverty and crime rates are high – are more likely to suffer from worse health outcomes than their counterparts, according to the National Institute of Health.

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Historically, people of color, low-income communities and immigrants have been left out of the planning processes of their communities. The city hoped to make a change through ForwardDallas by learning from and planning with all communities to create a clear vision for the city’s development.

Since launching in April 2021, the engagement for ForwardDallas has included in-person and virtual workshops, pop-up events, neighborhood association meetings, email blasts, social media posts, surveys, online mapping and comment platforms and public speaking engagements.

The ForwardDallas Comprehensive Land Use Plan Update, referenced as ForwardDallas 2.0, is a citywide visionary plan that aims to establish guidelines for how public and private land should be used and how the city should look. This long-range plan describes how the city plans to achieve the visionary plan. It has the potential to impact the quality and access to clean air, healthy food options, medical and mental health care, transportation, community centers and essential resources.

The plan’s mission is to advance livability, economic vibrancy, sustainability and equity throughout Dallas. The plan is rooted in five overarching themes that serve as the foundation of the plan’s goals, objectives and action steps. Those themes are:

  • Environmental justice and sustainability
  • Transit-oriented development and connectivity
  • Housing choice and access
  • Economic development and revitalization
  • Community and urban design

The previous iteration of the land use plan was approved by Dallas City Council in 2006. Due to the rapid and significant growth, the city of Dallas has undergone in the last 17 years, the city has revised the plan in hopes of envisioning new ways to utilize and design spaces in Dallas that offer equitable access to resources, reinforce the strength of the community and foster continued growth. This update will help inform decision-makers on where investments, such as real estate development, transportation and park expansion, need to be prioritized.

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ForwardDallas will guide all development in Dallas. It will be used by City Boards and Commissions; City Council; City Plan Commission; City departments, City and County agencies; residents; employers; developers and other stakeholders to inform decisions about development, infrastructure and code regulations. The plan will help regulate what is built, where it is built and how neighborhoods are affected by development. Specifically, when a new application for zoning change goes before the City Plan Commission and the City Council, the application will be reviewed based on whether the zoning change is in accordance with ForwardDallas. All applications for zoning change must justify their request based on the plan.

The plan identifies environmental justice areas where incompatible uses and zoning exist and makes recommendations on future land use vision for those areas to guide future zoning efforts.

“ForwardDallas is a comprehensive plan, which is distinct from zoning. A comprehensive plan is a plan for the long-term development of the city and is governed by Chapter 213 of the local government code, while zoning is governed by Chapter 211 of the local government code. Chapters 211 and 213 are clear that a comprehensive plan does not rezone any property. First, Section 213.005 requires that a comprehensive plan include the following language, ‘comprehensive plan shall not constitute zoning regulations or establish zoning district boundaries.’ Second, a comprehensive plan is not the end all be all for zoning. Section 213.004 allows the City to implement other plans, policies and strategies for zoning. Third, and most importantly, Section 213.002C allows the city to define the relationship between zoning and the comprehensive plan,” a district leader explained during a recent City Plan Commission ForwardDallas Public Comment engagement. 

Community members can get involved by adding their names to the ForwardDallas email list at https://dallas.gov/forwarddallas, where they can also provide comments, and by attending a ForwardDallas workshop. Community members can also participate in public hearings in-person or virtually at https://bit.ly/dallascpcmeetings.

Editor’s note: This is the beginning of a series following ForwardDallas efforts and how it affects the city and its people.

The post ForwardDallas – Planning and developing the city of Dallas through community feedback appeared first on Dallas Examiner.

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