June 29, 2016

Honorable Members of the City Plan Commission
c/o CurrentPlanning, City of Dallas
1500 Marilla St., 5BN
Dallas, Texas 75201

The board of directors for the Winnetka Heights Neighborhood Association (“Board”) is opposed to
application Z156-219 for rezoning a tract within PD 87 as submitted for approval by the applicants.
However, should the City of Dallas determine that the application, in some form, should be approved,
the Board would support the rezoning and SUP conditions recommended by city staff, with the following
additional provisions and clarifications:
-

The “performance times” provided in the SUP for the theatrical use be changed to “hours of
operation” and applied to all uses of the facility under the SUP;
Clarification that no city parking requirements are being waived or modified by the
application;
Addition of a requirement to the SUP that applicants submit a traffic management plan,
specifically dealing with the on-site queuing required under the SUP; and
Addition of a clarifying statement to the SUP that existing preservation requirements within
the PD be applied to all changes/alterations allowed under the SUP.

The Board arrived at this position after a months-long process of studying the applications and existing
zoning, meeting with the applicants and their attorney, and soliciting written and in-person comments
from neighbors. The application was thoroughly discussed at the last two general meetings of the
WHNA, including a meeting at which the applicants and their representatives attended. Through this
effort it became apparent that there exists a great uneasiness within Winnetka Heights at the prospect
of rezoning a residential parcel to allow for a use of this nature and intensity. The Winnetka Heights PD
and historic district were created holistically with provisions for neighborhood-serving businesses along
Davis, limited office uses along Jefferson and parts of 12th street, and leaving the bulk of the district
strictly for residential use. This cohesive planning was intentionally designed to preserve not just the
historic architecture of its buildings, but to also preserve a quality of life that is difficult to achieve within
a bustling metropolis like Dallas. Those early pioneers’ efforts in achieving historic designation have

succeeded beyond many of their wildest expectations, as Winnetka Heights draws new residents and
families seemingly every day. The success of PD 87 has spurred the revitalization of Oak Cliff and, in
addition to preserving a quality of life, has allowed the neighborhood and its environs to become an
economic engine for the City of Dallas. It is this success that both draws new ideas, but also begs the
question: why mess with success?
The Board urges the City of Dallas to apply the highest level of scrutiny in considering when and how PD
87 should be changed, particularly with respect to such a transformative change as requested by the
applicants in the matter before you.
While a majority of neighbors the Board heard from expressed strong opposition to the application,
many others were enthusiastically supportive. These neighbors believe a chance for the arts to thrive
within Winnetka Heights is worth the risk of a zoning change and see the preservation of the historic
church building as a great benefit for the neighborhood and the Oak Cliff community at large. On the
point of preservation, in fact, there is near unanimous agreement as to its benefit.
In looking to harmonize the diverse views and opinions in Winnetka Heights, the Board felt it should
take a position that strikes a balance between preserving what works and looking to the possibilities of
what can still be improved. The actual impact of the zoning proposed today is an unknown. Many
immediate neighbors are concerned it will increase traffic on their street where Greiner Middle School
already has a significant impact. The Board believes the more limited hours proposed by city staff and
the requirement of on-site queuing will help mitigate that impact. Neighbors also expressed concern
about parking on a street that already requires residential parking permits. There was a sentiment
expressed by some adjacent neighbors that the respite on their street when Greiner goes quiet on
nights and weekends will be disrupted by theatrical and instructional business filling the gaps.
There is merit in all of these concerns and the Board takes them very seriously. But the Board also takes
seriously its responsibility to weigh the benefits the applicants and many Winnetka Heights residents
feel this project would bring. It is therefore the Board’s position that should the rezoning application be
approved, that it be approved with adoption of city staff’s recommendations and those proposed above
by the Board.
Most important among those recommendations is the inclusion of both proposed new uses under the
SUP with a 2 year time limit. This will allow the applicants an opportunity to demonstrate the benefits
they will provide the community while mitigating detrimental impacts to their neighbors. It also allows
the neighborhood a mechanism to review the uses should they change in intensity or purpose or
otherwise deviate from the expectations set by the applicants. Two years is sufficient time to
demonstrate the appropriateness of the new uses, while protecting neighbors from an extended
intrusion should the new uses prove inappropriate.