City of Dallas Conservation District

The 8th Conservation District in Dallas

A Conservation District is a zoning tool used to help communities protect certain characteristics in their neighborhood.  Conservation Districts have existed in the city of Dallas since 1988.  These districts exist primarily in East Dallas and Oak Cliff.  They concentrate on protecting such things as architecture styles, densities of the area, heights of structures, and setback guidelines.  The process to become a conservation district typically takes 12 – 18 months from the initial authorizing of a study until the adoption by the city council.

In mid-1993, the North Cliff Neighborhood Association requested assistance from the Department of Planning and Development to achieve Conservation District zoning for an area bounded by Twelfth Street on the north, Chalmers Street on the east, Clarendon Drive on the south, and Ravinia Drive on the west.

After conducting a survey of the above-described area, the staff of the Department of Planning and Development found that the neighborhood contains a variety of architectural styles that would make an excellent conservation district.

The architectural styles present in the area are Tudor Revival, Arts and Craft, Minimal Traditional, Spanish Eclectic and Prairie Foursquare among others.  Tudor Revival and Minimal Traditional are present in the majority of the structures in the area.

The purpose of this conservation district is to preserve the above-described architectural styles of the area through architectural guidelines, development standards, and special provisions including zoning, land uses and setbacks.

A conservation district provides guidelines for structure improvements, new developments and structure maintenance among other things.  A conservation district also helps maintain or increase the value of the structures by means of improving the overall appearance of the area and by maintaining its unique urban character.  A conservation district is a restrictive tool in the sense that it regulates structure façade designs.

It is important to note the purpose of conservation district is not to increase code enforcement.  However, a conservation district helps to clearly define what is permitted or not permitted in a certain area, and give the necessary tools to prohibit elements that related to architectural style and other building features.

Once a conservation district is endorsed by the neighborhood and approved by the City Council, the process of obtaining a building permit in this area may take slightly longer than usual.  This is because the permit has to be reviewed and approved by the Department of Planning and Development before the Building Inspection Division of the Department of Economic Development approves it.  The Planning Department review is performed at the staff level and usually is completed within a day or two of it’s receipt.

On 8/28/96, an ordinance amending the Dallas Development Code changed the zoning classification of this neighborhood and established Conservation District No. 8 (the North Cliff Conservation District).

Other Conservation Districts of Dallas:

  1. King’s Highway 1988
  2. Lakewood 1988
  3. Page Avenue 1989
  4. Grenier Area 1989
  5. Lake Cliff South (no ordinance as it is now part of Lake Cliff Historic District)
  6. Hollywood/Santa Monica 1993
  7. Bishop/Eighth Street 1992
  8. North Cliff 1996
  9. M Streets 2002
  10. Greenway Parks 2003
  11. M Streets East 2004
  12. Belmont Addition 2004
  13. Kessler Park 2005
  14. Edgemont Park 2006
  15. Vickery Place 2006
  16. Rawlins 2007
  17. Northern Hills 2009
  18. Stevens Park 2011