The southern half of our city is under siege from the threat of warehouses moving into our neighborhoods in a way no other part of the city experiences. But longtime residents like me believe our future and quality of life depend on home ownership to create generational wealth for our families, not a surge of industrial buildings.
The increase in the number of rezoning requests for warehousing near residential areas in the Southern Sector is increasingly problematic. The concerns are not just geographic, they are about disparate treatment across generations, pollution, lowered quality of life and making our neighborhoods less desirable. The warehouse problem is just another example of that concern.
In 2022, Capella Park residents in southwestern Dallas won a major victory in opposition to a warehouse development that would have allowed 6-story warehouses adjacent to their homes. This beautiful area of Dallas is known to many as “The Dallas Hill Country” with views that rival those in Central Texas. But throughout this part of the city, we see land either used for or threatened by low value uses like warehouses.
That is a mistake, not only for our neighborhoods but for our entire city’s future. The majority of land for development in Dallas is here, and it is unwise to squander it on uses that are incompatible with residential development needed for new neighborhoods at all price points.
The Dallas County Inland Port holds the key to making the Southern Sector the world class destination for our warehousing, industrial, transportation, distribution center, and intermodal logistical needs in the 21st Century. The Inland Port already has the space and the infrastructure to accommodate these uses. Developers should look there for their new warehouse projects. Those operations should not spread throughout areas that are ripe for the creation of new homes, businesses and the sorts of amenities that southern Dallas residents want and deserve now and in the future.
The Interstate-20 corridor between Interstate-45 and Spur 408 has thousands of acres already zoned for warehousing, but developers have succeeded in getting Dallas City Hall to reverse our land use master plans to build more warehouses near residential neighborhoods. Removing single-family land has made it impossible to solve the housing shortages we face today.
We have good plans for the Southern Sector. The problem is that city hall refuses to abide by those plans and the promises they bring for orderly development that respects the wishes of our community.
Rational markets and competent city management would support building out what is already zoned for warehouses. Yet, city hall places its thumb on the scales and recommends approvals of unreasonable rezoning requests over the objections of nearby neighborhoods.
The result is that homes built in subdivisions near these tracts of land adjacent to I-20 have been devalued because the city did not protect them from developers.
Homeowners are being forced to defend themselves. The good news is some are winning against planning that happens to us rather than for us. Some recent requests for rezoning have been denied. That is a victory, but the pressure is unrelenting.
Developers seem to think that trucks and large industrial buildings should be seen as victories and markers of prosperity. But residents know they add to traffic and pollution in and around OUR neighborhoods.
It is past time to stop warehouse sprawl. Our neighborhoods and our future deserve better than what we are getting from city hall.
Darryl Baker is a retired planner for the City of Dallas and a longtime resident of Oak Cliff.