The News
Preservation Town Hall Meeting
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Written by Lybo Buchanan
Saturday, 24 June 2017 11:13

20 Jun 2017

Close to 120 folks filled the newly renovated Arts Mission Oak Cliff for discussions on preserving our heritage and our community from developers whose only interest is in their profit line.  Our wonderful structures and the multitude of trees help determine the fabric of our community, defining and setting Oak Cliff apart from the rest of Dallas. Our passion in their preservation pulls us together against the bulldozers that threaten to demolish what we love.

Recently we have been buffeted by teardowns of historic and loved buildings. As our area continues to experience rapid change and development, we would like to think about how we can act in a positive way to preserve and protect this history.

Tonight’s event was sponsored by the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League, Preservation Dallas, and the Oak Cliff Advocate.  Rachel Stone, from the Advocate, moderated an expert panel of speakers which included Scott Griggs, Dallas City Council, Monte Anderson, Option Real Estate and local developer, Mark Doty, Chief Planner, City of Dallas Historic Preservation Dept, and Bob Meckfessel, DSGM Associates, President, FAIA (Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.)

There are several tools already in place that the City of Dallas uses to determine which properties are protected, which properties can be protected, and which are not.

Buildings within a Historic or a Conservation District will be covered under the rules governing those areas. Most of these include no teardowns. These are wonderful tools in preserving the original fabric of a neighborhood.

A Conservation District is a tool that communities can use to preserve an area’s distinctive atmosphere or character through architectural guidelines, development standards, and special zoning provisions. Conservation Districts protect such things as architecture styles, densities of the area, heights of structures, and setback guidelines. The neighborhood decides these things and sets the guidelines into an ordinance, which must have approval of 50 to 75% of those living there.  It typically takes 12-18 months from start to finish until the city council adopts it.

A Historic District looks to preserve the original structure exactly as when it was first built, including original materials, colors, styles, and any other elements of the original structure. Any improvements or new construction must first be approved by the neighborhood historic district task force, before going to the City of Dallas’ Landmark Commission. This process can take about 2 months to complete. This also includes putting in new landscaping, fence, or just a fresh coat of paint.

Another tool created about a year ago is the Demolition Delay Overlay District. Its creation was recommended by a downtown task force, set up by the Dallas mayor to address some demolition that occurred in the downtown area.

Currently there are 2 of these Overlay Districts:

1)         1) Downtown Dallas 

2)         2) Oak Cliff


altThe Oak Cliff Demolition Delay Overlay District: What this means is that any demo permit that is pulled within the overlay area, goes to the Historic Preservation Officer for review.  There is a 45-day delay before issuing the demo permit. The planner has set criteria he uses to determine whether a dialogue needs to happen before any demolition takes place. Part of the dialogue would be consideration of re-using the building and/or making it a landmark. 

Criteria that qualifies a building for demolition delay would be any building within the overlay district that meets one of the following:

(1) Being located in a National Register District;
(2) Designation as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark;​
(3) Designation as a State Archeological Landmark;
(4) Designation as a National Historic Landmark;
(5) Being listed as a significant building in the 2003 Downtown Dallas Architecturally Significant Properties Survey; ​or
(6) Being listed as a contributing structure in the 1994 Hardy-Heck-Moore Survey​.

If a building does not meet the criteria, the demolition permit is issued.

If a building does meet the criteria, a sign is posted on the property letting the public know a demolition request is on file. Within 45 days, a public meeting is held with the property owner, public officials, and the stakeholders to discuss alternatives to demolition.

After 45 days, the owner either agrees to the alternative solution, or declines, at which point, the demo permit is issued.

Anything that is outside of these areas, you would need to initiate a conversation with the property owner to try to stop any demolition.

Boundaries for both of these overlay areas can be found online.

Please note that a National Registered Landmark is honorary only. It does not provide any protection.

Local Landmark is on the local level and does provide protection.  

altOther ideas addressed by the panel included:

Uses:  Expand uses for old buildings. Allow uses to transform organically, instead of forcing something that really does not fit.

Economic Development: provide economic development incentives for restoring as opposed to tearing down. Encourage investing in smaller projects that require less money. Improve neighborhood relations when “good guys” want to invest. The Arts Mission Oak Cliff is a good example.

Platting/Lot size: keep plats of land small to discourage out of town developer to come in and build big. Do not allow re-platting. Create a citywide notification system for re-plats.

Density: Increase density on residential lots with accessory structures.

Street Grid: Pay attention to the street grid, streetscape, frontage, infrastructure, etc. that contribute to the historic fabric, not just the architecture 

Historic Survey: Perform a historic survey on the oldest parts of Oak Cliff. City is working on RFQ (request for qualification) for citywide survey to include N Oak Cliff. A Cultural survey should be added to information gathered regarding old structures.

Creating a step-by-step manual for persons new to historic preservation and who would like to preserve a building, would be very helpful. Include such information as tax credits, landmarking, CA’s, etc.

Expanding the Demo Delay area mentioned above, would provide more control for protecting structures.

Expand historic protections to other areas. Recognize what we have and what we should protect and save.

A key part in all of this is staying informed. We all need to have ownership in not just our own house, or even our own neighborhood, but also in the entire community. What affects one affects us all, and we are stronger in our unity than we are as individuals.  

Education and outreach is critical in building support and spreading the word on matters important to our community. Impart to your children what you think is important in Oak Cliff. Share with them the value of a community that cares. Teach them how to communicate and work together to achieve common goals.


We have also had very good follow-up press:

The Observer: 

The Advocate:

Tonight’s dialogue is a start in recognizing the problem and hopefully come up with solutions.   

Last Updated on Saturday, 24 June 2017 11:38
Oak Cliff - This Place Matters
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Written by Michael Amonett
Wednesday, 21 June 2017 08:06

As a result of our Preservation Town Hall, OOCCL has started an Oak Cliff - This Place Matters Facegbook page found here.  This Place Matters is a campaign organized by the National Trust for Historic Places.  

From their website found here ""This Place Matters is national campaign that encourages people to celebrate the places that are meaningful to them and to their communities."

Download the materials on the National Historic Trust website and make a photo of a place important to you and post it on our Facebook page.  This will help us identify places important to the community and possible City of Dallas Landmark status.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 June 2017 08:36
Oak Cliff Preservation Town Hall
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Written by Lybo Buchanan
Monday, 19 June 2017 13:09


Tuesday, June 20th, 6:30 pm

Arts Mission Oak Cliff, 410 S. Windomere (at 12th Street)


Moderator - Rachel Stone, Oak Cliff Advocate

Panel - The Honorable Scott Griggs, Dallas City Council

Mark Doty, Chief Planner, CIty of Dallas Historic Preservation Dept.

Monte Anderson, Options Real Estate

Bob Meckfessel, DSGN Associates President, FAIA


Sponsored by The Old Oak Cliff Conservation League, Preservation Dallas and the The Oak Cliff Advocate


The residents, neighborhoods and businesses of Oak Cliff are proud of our rich, distinctive history, structures and public spaces, But recently we have been buffeted by tear-downs of historic and loved buildings. As our area continues to experience rapid change and development, we would like to think about how we can act in a positive way to preserve and protect this history. Hear from our expert panelists and take this opportunity to share your ideas about this issue.


Admission is FREE

6:30 pm - Meet & Greet with refreshments

7:00 pm - Program 

Last Updated on Monday, 19 June 2017 13:19
Oak Cliff Preservation Town Hall
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Written by Michael Amonett
Friday, 02 June 2017 10:53
Pollinator Yards
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Written by Lybo Buchanan
Thursday, 18 May 2017 22:38
altThe Old Oak Cliff Conservation League
presented its altthird in the Oak Cliff Live speaker series, Wednesday evening, at the Kiest Park Picnic Pavilion. Surrounded by trees and gardens, it was the perfect setting for discussion of pollinator yards. Roger Sanderson, from the Texas Discovery Gardens, gave a slide presentation on the importance of having pollinator yards and how to attract and keep pollinators in your yard.
It’s all about the Birds and the Bees,
the Butterflies and the Hummingbirds,
as well as wasps, flies, beetles, and a altwhole lot of other insects and birds that are instru-mental to pollinating our world and enabling future plant generations.
Pollinators are so very important to our planet. Their loss has forced China, to start hand pollinating plants in order to produce much needed food. Without pollinators, much of the food we enjoy today would be gone. This is why it is so important to be in tune with our environment.  Already we are losing much of our prairies, forest, and nature to development, which is why it is increasingly important to create spaces in our own yards for these pollinators. 
altTurn your useless Saint Augustine lawn
into a haven for altthe birds, bees, and butterflies, and all the other creatures that help balance and make up the eco-system, by planting native gardens & grasses.
Barbara Barbee spoke afterwards on plants in our local area, as well as a description of the work that the Friends of Oak Cliff Parks have been doing. At the close of the discussions, she took anyone who wanted to accompany her across the street to show off the gardens they have been working on.
The weather and the turnout was great this evening.  Behind every event is a group of dedicated folks who work hard to bring these things to you. Thanks to: Angie Mobley, Ellie Hajek, Stan Aten, George Baum, and Mary Harrison to name a few. Pink Magnolia provided pimento sandwiches and deviled eggs for the group.
The fourth Oak Cliff Live speaker series will be 19 July, on the Hungry and Homeless in Oak Cliff. Please mark your calendar and keep an eye out for upcoming information on time and location.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 May 2017 08:12
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