The Dallas Morning News - Sunday, January 27, 1985
Author: Norma A. Wade, Metro South Bureau of The News

When attorney Doug Daman and his family moved from Houston to Dallas five years ago, they looked for a quiet, older neighborhood in which to settle.

Daman found a 70-year-old, prairie-style home in Oak Cliff's Winnetka Heights neighborhood. He later supported neighborhood efforts in 1981 to have the community declared a historic district by the city.

But now, Daman said, that support has come back to haunt him. Daman is locked in a dispute with a group of neighbors who oppose his plan to build a detached garage apartment in his back yard as living quarters for his invalid mother and her nurse.

Neighbors say Daman's plan violates the spirit and letter of the historic district ordinance because the apartment would be too large and its contemporary style would conflict with the prairie-style homes in the area.

If Daman is allowed to build the apartment, it would set a precedent that would weaken the ordinance, said members of the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League .

In addition, neighbors are concerned about the structure's being converted to rental property if Daman later sells his home at 203 N. Rosemont Ave., said Diane Sherman, president of the Winnetka Heights Neighborhood Association.

The City Plan Commission voted in December to accept a city staff recommendation rejecting Daman's proposed design for the apartment. The City Council will hear Daman's appeal of that decision Jan. 30.

Daman said he thinks his neighbors are interfering in his private life and the city is aiding them by blocking his building plans. He said he had planned to move his mother from her home in North Dallas to his property by Christmas.

"I'm not asking for a favor,' Daman said. "I'm asking for what I consider to be my right.'

Mrs. Sherman said the association has tried to accommodate Daman, but he has refused to accept suggested revisions to his design. Daman, however, said he has agreed to reduce the size of the apartment from 1,800 square feet to 720 square feet.

"Our compromise is allowing him to build a second structure, period,' Mrs. Sherman said. "When anyone challenges our historic ordinance, you have to go to bat for it.'

Because of the historic district designation, any changes to a home or building in the neighborhood must be reviewed by a task force made up of neighborhood residents and plan commission members. The task force opposed Daman's plans.

According to the historic district ordinance, any new structure on property in the neighborhood must conform to existing architecture in size, scale, color and design.

Neighbors want Daman to be able to accommodate his mother, but they also want him to respect the neighborhood's integrity, Mrs. Sherman said.

"There are a lot of benefits to living in a historic district,' she said. "But there also is a lot of responsibility.'


The Dallas Morning News - Thursday, October 17, 1985
Author: George Rodrigue

Dallas planners are completing a new comprehensive land-use plan for 5.5 square miles of North Oak Cliff that seeks to reconcile the goals of neighborhood improvement, preservation of low-income housing and commercial revitalization.

The plan recommends a reduction of commercial or apartment zoning in some areas, an increase in commercial zoning in other areas, an imposition of new height and building design guidelines in some commercial areas and additional efforts to upgrade low-income housing.

City planner Rose Faeges said the city began to consider land-use issues in the area -- bounded by Interstate 30, Interstate 35, Hampton Road and the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe railroad tracks -- because three previous studies recommended such a move. He also said that neighborhood organizations sought the city's assistance and the city noted increasing real estate speculation in parts of North Oak Cliff.

"I think that this is something we need to do now before we have another Oak Lawn in Oak Cliff, where you have sporadic development with no real planning,' said James Davis, president of the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League , an umbrella group for local neighborhood associations.

City Council member Bill Milkie, who represents the bulk of the area, said he is "very supportive of the staff's effort so far,' but was unable to comment on specifics of the plan.

But City Council member Diane Ragsdale, who represents the extreme eastern part of the planning area, said the city has failed so far to offer low-income residents adequate protection against displacement by rising land values.

"There is no question in my mind that we need to do much more,' she said.

Ms. Faeges said she probably will amend the plan as she carries it through at least a half-dozen public meetings before presenting it to the City Plan Commission later this year. She said its key points currently include:

*Possible reduction of commercial or apartment zoning rights in some residential areas where zoning is incompatible with existing land uses to avoid the dangers of commercial speculation and neglectful absentee landlords.

*Possible increases or adjustments to commercial zoning rights in most of the areas between downtown, Beckley Avenue, Zang Boulevard and I-30 -- coupled with new landscaping and design standards for all commercial areas -- to promote attractive redevelopment.

*Housing code enforcement to promote rehabilitation of some residential neighborhoods coupled with the use of the city's low-interest loan programs to assist home and apartment owners with necessary repairs.

*Permitting private clubs and restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages in the commercial strips along Jefferson and Davis streets, but only if the owners first obtain City Council permission for the sales.