On November 9, 2005, the Dallas City Council adopted Ordinance No. 26161 which established the NSO Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay for single family neighborhoods. This was done in response to concerns by neighborhood organizations that the process for initiating, processing and public hearings to create protective zoning for neighborhoods could take as long as three years. They also felt that many neighborhoods did not need the multiple regulations involved in an Historic District or a Conservation District. The NSO was created to speed up the process and to provide minimal restrictions to ensure that neighborhood character would not be violated.
The Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay, or NSO, is just that; an overlay. It overlies the base zoning and adds additional restrictions to that zoning. Those additional restrictions are listed below:
What can be regulated
- Front yard setback - Options range from the setback allowed by existing zoning to the build line as determined by the median setback of the homes in the neighborhood. This can result in front yard setbacks that are more or less restrictive than allowed under the current zoning. (If the Overlay establishes a setback that is less than a platted setback, the platted setback supersedes until the building line is removed by replat.)
- Side yard setback - Options range from the setback allowed by existing zoning to the build line as determined by the median side yard setback of the homes in the neighborhood. This could allow for setbacks that are more or less restrictive than allowed under current zoning. Side setbacks may be set separately for each side of the lot, as well as for corner lots.
- Garage location, placement and connection - Options may regulate whether the garage is attached or detached; has front, side or rear entry; and whether it is located in front of, behind or to the side of the main structure.
- Height - Height may either be the height allowed by the underlying zoning or it may be redefined by a ‘height slope plane’ which is a plane defined by a slope beginning at a point six feet above the centerline of the street and extending through a point located on the front building setback line, called a “district height”. The district height must be between the median height of homes in the district and the height allowed by the underlying zoning if the median height is 20 feet or more. If the median height of homes in the district is less then 20 feet, the district height must be either the median height of the homes of the neighborhood or a point between 20 feet and the maximum height allowed by the underlying zoning. This slope will extend until it intersects the maximum height allowed by the underlying zoning. The maximum height of a single family structure, as height is defined by the Building Inspector’s Office, cannot invade the height slope once it is established.
Who can get an Overlay?
In order to qualify for an NSO a neighborhood must be zoned for single family residential uses only (zoning districts beginning with an ‘R’) and primarily developed with single family structures. The proposed district must also have the following characteristics:
- It must be a minimum 50 single family structures in a compact, contiguous area; or
- It must be an original subdivision if the subdivision contains fewer than 50 single family structures.
Boundary lines should be drawn to include blockfaces on both sides of a street and to define logical edges of the district, such as a street, subdivision line, zoning line, utility easement, creek or other natural boundary. Except as provided above, mid-blockface breaks should be avoided.
A neighborhood Committee comprising the owners of at least ten properties may request a petition form by submitting a request to the department on a form furnished by the department. The request must include the boundaries of the proposed district, preferably on a map. The boundaries of the proposed district must comply with the requirements listed above (Who can get an Overlay?).
Once the initiation petition is submitted to the Department of Development Services the Department will provide the Committee with a map showing addresses and a spreadsheet to be used in collecting the neighborhood data. The Committee is then responsible for gathering all the data for the homes in the proposed NSO area.
When data gathering is complete it is submitted to the Department of Development Services for verification and determination of the medians for each category. This information is returned to the Committee on a form with blanks for the committee to decide what regulations they will offer to the neighborhood based on the menu of options spelled out by City Staff.
Once the Committee has agreed on a set of regulations to propose to the neighborhood they set up a meeting location and Development Services Staff sends out a notice to every property owner in the area of consideration advertising the meeting. At the meeting Staff describes the process and outlines the options being considered and the Staff and Committee members answer questions from the neighborhood property owners. The neighborhood committee determines the regulations that will be set forth in the petition at this meeting.
Staff has seven days from the date of the neighborhood meeting at which a decision is made regarding the regulations that will be set forth in the petition to provide the Committee with individual petitions for each property in the neighborhood and the Committee then has six months to gather the necessary signatures to submit the proposal as a zoning request (three months if there are 50 or fewer single family structures in the proposed district).
- Petition and fee - Petitions representing 50% +1 to 74% of the properties within the proposed overlay that are accompanied with the application fee will be placed on the City Plan Commission agenda by Staff for consideration of the requested zoning overlay.
- Petition - Petitions representing 75 percent or more of the properties within the proposed overlay do not require a fee and will be placed on the City Plan Commission agenda by Staff for consideration of the requested zoning overlay.
Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay Checklist - outlines a basic timeline for the initiation and process for getting a Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay, pdf.
Adopted Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay Location Maps (Adobe PDFs)
Adopted Neighborhood Stabilization District Ordinances (Adobe PDFs)
No. 1 – Northaven Estates
No. 2 – Greenland Hills
No. 3 – Lakewood North Ridge Estates
No. 4 – Vanderbilt Marquita
No. 5 – Casa Linda Estates
No. 6 – Cochran Heights
No. 7 - Woodland Drive
No. 7 - Woodland Expansion
No. 8 – Cedar Oaks
No. 9 - Dalewood-Westbrook
No. 10 - Prestonshire Addition
No. 11 - University Terrace
No. 12 - Jackson Heights #4
No. 13 - La Bajada
Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay Projects (pdf)
The links below are PowerPoint (pps)show files, you may need to download the file before trying to run the show. Right-click on the link and select Save Target As.. and save the file to your computer.
Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay (13.3 MB)
Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay Height Slope (4.7 MB)