Development Services


Board of Adjustment FAQs

What is the Board of Adjustment?

A quasi-judicial body empowered by state legislature and Chapters 51/51A generally charged with considering individual requests whereby applicants contend that they cannot or choose not to comply with provisions set forth in the Dallas Development Code.  The Board of Adjustment is made up of 15 volunteer members and up to six alternate members who are appointed by the City Council.  Members are divided into three panels by the City Secretary's Office to reflect the geographical and ethnic diversity of the City of Dallas to the greatest extent practicable.  It is led with one chair and two vice-chairs.

How does the Board of Adjustment work?

The board reviews each application before them at a public hearing. The board reacts mostly to individuals who are requesting deviations from provisions set forth in the Dallas Development Code.  There are development standards set forth in state legislature and the Dallas Development Code. These standards provide a specific criteria/basis for granting or denying each type of request that comes before the board. The members apply this specific standard on each application after considering all testimony and facts presented to them at a public hearing. 

The board's quasi-judicial status (unlike for the most part, City Plan Commission and City Council) precludes them from political pressure and lobbying prior to hearings since ex parte communications with board members is prohibited and is a Class A misdemeanor.

What type of issues/requests does the Board of Adjustment generally see?

The board reviews appeals from decisions made by an Administrative Official of the City in the enforcement of the zoning ordinance that include:  
  • special exceptions that are expressly provided for in Chapter 51 and 51A. (parking regulations, landscape regulations, tree preservation regulations, fence height regulations, sign regulations, equal opportunity for handicapped persons, etc.);
  • variances for the front, side, and rear yard, lot width, lot depth, coverage, FAR, sidewalk width, off-street parking, off-street loading, landscape, and height;  
  • and discontinuance of a nonconforming use whereby the owner's actual  investment in the structure prior to the time that the use became nonconforming can be amortized.

How are staff recommendations to the Board of Adjustment formed?

The staff recommendation on each application is one of the items the board takes into consideration at its public hearing. The staff recommendation is derived from a comprehensive analysis of information and evidence submitted mostly from the applicant at a staff review team meeting. The staff team reviewing each application includes, but is not limited to, people from comprehensive planning, transportation engineering, public works, and building inspection.

How busy is the Board of Adjustment?

The board reviews about 150-200 cases a year (some cases having multiple requests within).
Generally each of the three panels meets once a month (except July).

​How does one determine whether the Board of Adjustment is either needed or an option on a matter?

For the most part, board applications begin from a permit application that is denied by the Building Inspection office because the submitted plans do not meet the provisions set forth in the Dallas Development Code.

How does one go about submitting an application to the Board of Adjustment?

Applications are submitted to the Building Inspection Division at the Oak Cliff Municipal Center, 320 East Jefferson, Room 105. This is where one can obtain a Board of Adjustment application, a checklist of what materials are needed to be submitted in conjunction with the application, the month in which the completed application would be scheduled before one of the three board panels, and the amount for the related application filing fee.

More questions? Call Jennifer Munoz, Board of Adjustment Administrator, at (214) 670-4208, or Charles Trammell, Sr. Planner t at (214) 948-4618.