Owners opposing 'death' of Deep Ellum
The Dallas Times Herald, January 29, 1987
Deep Ellum is being legislated out of existence. The city will lose a valuable resource, along with the tradition of property owners being treated fairly and equally. According to notarized affidavits, 70 percent of the property owners want the protection of existing Deep Ellum zoning.
After a challenge, the court ruled the city had passed this ordinance illegally. The Deep Ellum ordinance defeats every stated objective of the city. The objective was to preserve an urban neighborhood, and eclectic mix of people and uses. Instead, the city legislated against the diversity of uses and favored new development at the expense of the historic buildings.
The city staff sold the dream of revitalizing Deep Ellum. The property owners share the desire for revitalization. However, they recognize the ordinance is contrary to that dream.
Let me review the stated objectives of the city and the actions it is actually taking:
- Objective:To prevent high-rise buildings. The two most historically significant blocks in Deep Ellum have retained unlimited height CBD zoning, virtually guaranteeing that eventually the historic structures will be demolished. A four-story landmark cannot compete economically with a 50-story building.
- Objective:To preserve the existing character of Deep Ellum. Instead, design guidelines promote new development at the expense of existing structures.
- Objective:To limit the density and height in the area. The ordinance instead encourages tall narrow towers that obscure existing historic structures.
- Objective:To encourage the continuing development of an arts community. For the last 15 years, artists have gravitated to Deep Ellum. The ordinance will destroy the arts community by eliminating mixed uses
- Objective:To promote bars and retail stores by abolishing parking requirements for these establishments. Although they add vitality, bars generate noise, trash and parking problems, driving away many residents and existing businesses.
- Objective:To provide a diversity of people, businesses and jobs. The city’s plan eliminates this haven for small businesses and the working man and woman by favoring the new uses and new development.
The city must realize that revitalization does not occur by coloring a map. If the city erases the texture of Deep Ellum, only vacant land suited for new development will remain. Deep Ellum is an area in which the history of Dallas is beautifully articulated in brick and stone. If the planning department is successful, we will lose a vital part of Dallas history.
Please join us in our effort to save Deep Ellum.